Gorse and bracken clearance was necessary

In reply to Mr Bowman’s letter, the gorse and bracken clearance on the Firehills was required by Natural England as part of the Higher Level Stewardship awarded to Hastings Borough Council last year.

In order to promote a more natural and diverse habitat for different species of plants and wildlife, the scrub (in compartments and certainly not all of it) has been mechanically cleared.

This is clearly explained on several notices on the site. The volunteers manning the Visitors’ Centre from 10am to 3.30pm (weather permitting!) Tuesday to Sunday inclusive would also have been able to explain this to Mr Bowman.

Unfortunately, it would have taken far too long to clear it manually. I know because, along with other volunteers keen to enhance the country park, I have been involved in a lot of scrub clearance and we are currently working on making the old quarry more accessible to visitors.

Controlled burning is not an option due to smoke pollution and regeneration of the gorse.

The Conservation Volunteers get involved in many other remedial and conservation work throughout the park and new ‘recruits’ are always welcome. We meet every Thursday at Place Farm at 9.30am and the first Sunday of every month at 10am. Obviously, appropriate clothing and footwear must be worn and we bring packed lunches if we’re staying all day. Tea and coffee is provided.

If Mr Bowman, or anyone else over 16, would like to join us, please contact the Parks Ranger on 01424 812767. We look forward to meeting you.

Stephen Watkins

The Heights