Heathland Habitat

I am making rather a tenuous distinction between heath and down, the former being much rougher ground with hardier vegetation and verging on Moorland. The flora consists of Bracken and Gorse with a profusion of Violets growing lower down. Scrubby trees encroach into the area, including Prunus species like Blackthorn and Buckthorn, also Oak is common along the edges. Horses, sheep and rabbits do their best to trim the underlying grass.

Moorland / Heath.

Fritillaries like this habitat very much. In the UK it is one of the strongholds for the declining High brown fritillary Argynnis adippe and also the Pearl-bordered fritillary Clossiana euphrosyne. Brimstones lay their eggs on the Buckthorn saplings while the Green hairstreak Callophrys rubi uses the Gorse for the same purpose. Notable browns include the Grayling Hipparchia semele and enormous numbers of Small heath Coenonympha pamphilus.

This habitat is under threat in the UK, mainly due to the change in grazing habits which leads to the Bracken growing too strongly and shading out everything else.



All pictures in these pages copyright to Simon Coombes. Permission must be sought and obtained for any use.