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FWAG Viking Heaths

Location:Orkney

Habitats:Maritime grassland, Coastal heathand

Livestock:Various breeds and types of livestock

In brief:Restoring and protecting maritime grassland and heathland in Orkney by developing the links between farming and conservation.

Contact:Dr John Robertson

Tel:01856 874974

Email:john.robertson@fwag.org.uk

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Viking Heaths is an initiative led by the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) to restore and protect maritime grassland and heathland in Orkney by developing the links between farming and conservation. It is a five year project focussing on maintaining, enhancing and expanding heathland in Orkney, with objectives also including education and awareness raising and improved access and interpretation. 

The project is targeting 15 key areas covering over 5000 ha. These include Stromness coasts and heaths, Ward Hill in South Ronaldsay, Brodgar, Hill of White Hammars, Rothiesholm Head, Birsay Moors and Mull Head in Deerness. The project focuses on both reserves and private land, and recognises the importance of support from farmers and communities to enable farmers to manage heathland sustainably in an economically viable way. Appropriate grazing, (generally with cattle or sheep), is key to conserving and enhancing these areas of species rich coastal grassland and heathland.

The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with support from Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Orkney Islands Council and Orkney Enterprise.