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Traditional swaling used to rejuvenate the Quantocks
A TRADITIONAL method of land management was carried out on the Quantock Hills near West Quantoxhead on Tuesday.
National Trust rangers and volunteers were at Staple Plain to undertake ‘swaling’ – an old West Country term for when fire is used as a tool to maintain the land.
Carefully-selected areas of heather, gorse or rank grass are burned in a controlled way, with strips of ground cleared of vegetation before swaling begins acting as fire breaks to stop it spreading.
A National Trust spokesperson said: “In the spring the burnt areas produce a flush of vigorous new growth, rejuvenating these places and the rare plants and animals they support such as bell heather, red deer, nightjars and adders.”