Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Small But New.

After seeing a first of the season Small Skipper last week,today while walking along the cliff top at Whale Chine I came across another male in the long grass close to the cliff edge.This stretch of coastline has an allocated strip of land several metres in depth from the edge of the cliff which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Details of which are;
 On the south west coast of the Island, cliff top arable fields border parts of the Compton Chine
to Steephill Cove SSSI. In these locations a buffer zone has been established by Natural England
between the arable field and the cliff top. Management of this has been undertaken through a
Wildlife Enhancement Scheme (WES) agreement between Natural England and the landowners.
These agreements are now mostly about 10 years old and are currently being re-negotiated
through the Environmental Stewardship Scheme (ESS) as Higher Level Stewardship (HLS)
agreements.

Management of the buffer under WES agreements required:-

• No cultivation within 20m of cliff or chine edge
• No application of fertilisers, herbicide or pesticide within 20m of cliff or chine edge
• Scrub management
• Control of ‘weed’ species is required by WES/HLS – to include ragwort, thistle, dock and
nettle. This appears to be achieved through annual topping in late summer.