Gorse removal in Hastings Country Park causes concern

The area after the gorse was removed
The area after the gorse was removed

Concerns have been expressed over the removal of gorse in Hastings Country Park.

Several residents have contacted the Observer, criticising the borough council over the work near the Firehills.

Several residents have expressed concern over the removal of gorse near the Firehills

Several residents have expressed concern over the removal of gorse near the Firehills

Barry Lee said: “The works have included ripping out large areas of gorse and an established blackthorn hedge. These plants thrive in the salty sea air and the poor soil.

“They provided nesting for birds and the seeds and berries provided food for many species of birds.

“The reason for this is to plant heather which is to be taken from Ashdown Forest. The blackthorn provided a very good windbreak from the sea winds which heather won’t provide.

“Last year a large area of gorse was torn out by machines and the area has been left decimated and devoid of any plants, apart from the brambles which have started to colonise the area.”

Councillor Warren Davies, Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for environment, said: “We are required to reduce the amount of gorse in areas of the country park as part of the Higher Level Countryside Stewardship Agreement.

“We will not removing all the gorse, quite the opposite, but large sections have been removed. Our aim is to develop a more diverse coastal habitat with heather, but this may take many years to develop.

“The contractor we have employed does similar work across the county and now that the areas of gorse have been removed they will sow heather seeds collected from Ashdown Forest.

“Reducing overgrown gorse scrub and managing those areas into the future is the first step in a long process of habitat restoration.”

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