The initial phase of woodland clearing on Hogmoor Inclosure has almost been completed, paving the way for the re-introduction of heathland, a natural ecology that is essential to creating a diverse wildlife habitat. A big step in the creation of the proposed Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG).

So far almost five hectares of predominately pine planation woodland within Hogmoor Inclosure has been cleared with a view to creating a heathland habitat and bringing back species that used to live there as well as encouraging existing bat, bird and reptile populations. Clearing work will now be stopping in order to minimise disturbance during the important bird nesting season.

The improvements to Hogmoor Inclosure will respect the historic character of the site and provide a range of habitats for people and wildlife and, once completed, the inclosure will boast an additional 7.1 hectares of open heathland, on top of the existing 1.2 hectares that is being retained. This will open up the area to restore the habitats that previously existed on Hogmoor for many centuries.

Along with the cultivation of the land for the introduction of additional heather seed and brash planting, work will be commencing on the creation of the new relief road, which will reduce congestion and make access in and out of Whitehill & Bordon easier. This is primarily taking place alongside the old railway line and once completed there will be a safe crossing below the road for wildlife and further replanting of native trees will take place along the bank.

James Child, the Project Lead at the Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company, says: “The intention of the SANG is to establish a space where natural habitats can thrive, as well as providing a space that will enhance the quality of life of local residents and visitors for them to enjoy the natural world around them.

“Throughout the delivery process, landscaping and re-grading will be undertaken to the minimum extent required to promote the safe navigability of the SANG. In accordance with habitat management guidance produced by Natural England and Buglife, annual reviews will be carried out to assess the extent of bare ground habitat within the SANG and maintaining its levels through an ongoing programme of renewal.”

Sally Pond, Mayor of Whitehill Town Council, said: “This whole area used to be heathland before the Scots Pine plantation artificially changed the local environment and we are returning the area to its original state. It’s really exciting to think that all the animals and plants that used to live in the Hogmoor Inclosure will soon be coming back.

“Thanks to the clearance work being carried out here we will soon be able to enjoy a beautiful stretch of heathland running right through the Inclosure. It’s fantastic news for people who want to enjoy a diverse natural environment.”