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Waves Of Heath Project

Location:Isles of Scilly

Habitats:Heathland, Coastal

Livestock:Various breeds and types of livestock, Shetland ponies, Devon cattle (Ruby Reds)

In brief:Cattle and pony grazing on the Isles of Scilly to restore lowland heathland

Contact:David Mawers

Tel:01720 422153

An exciting project called ‘Waves of Heath’ is restoring 592 hectares (1,463 acres) of lowland heathland in the Scilly Isles. Methods of restoring the heathland include controlling scrub by cutting, rolling and burning. Grazing with cattle and ponies has also been re-introduced to some sites (such as Gweal Hill on Bryher - pictured above) as part of the management regime. Livestock was traditionally kept by smallholders on the islands and these animals would have grazed on areas of coastal heathland around the islands but this tradition has largely disappeared although there are still a few livestock farmers on the islands (the project works in partnership with local farmers and graziers).

The unique topography of islands raises some logistical challenges for the project. Contract stockmen are employed on each of the different islands (there are 5 inhabited islands of which ? are currently grazed). The sites are isolated and any movement of stock between the islands must be by boat! Volunteer lookers are also used by the project to check the animals. The project is also sourcing funding for feasibility work to address local issues such as the lack of an abattoir and adequate veterinary services.

Click here to download a four page document entitled 'Grazing for wildlife on the Isles of Scilly'.  This gives some background information on the Waves of Heath Project and is also available via the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust website.

This land management project is being carried out by the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, with support from
the Heritage Lottery Fund through Tomorrow’s Heathland Heritage, Natural England, the Duchy of Cornwall and Tresco Estate.