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Icart habitat restoration success

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Friday 01 May 2020

Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services (ACLMS) celebrate the successful habitat restoration of Icart field as, for the second year since its restoration, it is blooming with wildflowers.

The habitat was restored in 2018 following the key aims of the Biodiversity Strategy and with funding from the mitigation of the Airport Pavement Project. This project aimed to offset the environmental impacts caused by the work completed on the airfield in 2014 by the subsequent loss of agricultural fields at the Western end of the runway.

This project presented a fantastic and rare opportunity to reinstate an area of Guernsey's declining dry grassland habitat which supports a wide range of plants, insects and birds. Without the restoration and ongoing management, the ecological value of this site would have continued to decline as bracken, bramble, gorse and blackthorn would continue to outcompete the more delicate flora. This success story is proof of the ability of nature to recover when given the opportunity and successful management.

The beautiful display of bluebells that has been seen over the last month is succeeded by a variety of colourful plant species such as red campion, sea campion, foxgloves, sheep's bit and ox-eye daisy. The South coast cliffs are designated as a Site of Special Significance (SSS) due in part to its important flora, which provide a source of food for insects, and in turn, insect eating birds and bats.

Since the clearing of bracken and scrub from the site, trees have been planted and it is hoped that later in the year the area can be grazed by La Société Guernesiaise's Conservation Herd. The restoration has already greatly improved the biodiversity of Icart and with the return of grazing to the cliffs this is only expected to continue.

Visitors to the site are welcome to walk along the pathway on the outskirts of the field to enjoy the views. However, please do not enter the field as the delicate plants would be damaged underfoot.

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