My Opinion On The Changes to Highgate Common.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the upcoming work to be done on Highgate Common next month (Feb), and the impact it may have on the Flora and Fauna.

I’ve been going over Highgate Common for quite a few years. The past 3-4 years its become a great pleasure in my life photographing some of its Wildlife. I visit most Days/Weeks, and in the warmer months still find new things to photograph, and research.

With nearly 40 years Bird Watching, and travelling the length and breadth of Britain, and also visiting loads of Bird and Wildlife Reserves. I think this puts me in a good position to give my own thoughts on the work to make the Heathland bigger and therefore reduce the Woodland.

One of the first things I have noticed seeing other Wildlife Reserves, is that some… although  smaller than Highgate Common, (Invertebrates aside) they attract a larger number of animals and birds. Having walked round the woodland areas of Highgate Common many many times, you do start to notice pockets of none active areas. I personally put this down to the woodland more or less suffocating itself, with many areas being way to dense with trees, and the undergrowth to thick.

So for me, opening up this new corridor will only help the wildlife. Taking last years observation of a Black Darter dragonfly as an example, (which had not been seen for 10 years on HC), it does make me wonder if we had lost this species, because of too much of the Heathland being taken over by trees.

I also believe that with the new Heathland Corridor, we will not lose any of the existing birds and wildlife. In fact I think it will only help establish better populations to the resident wildlife we already have. With more open spaces we may encourage birds like the Stonechat back to the Common. More space also equals more Pipits…more Pipits means.. making sure our children get to listen to that unmistakable Cuckoo song. Also more areas for rodents = more raptors. Who knows with the increase of Barn Owls in the Staffordshire area, even a chance of seeing one of these beautiful birds hunting over Highgate Common.

So I guess what I’m saying…I can only see positives coming from the work starting in February. It obviously will look a muddy mess for quite a while, but give it a chance and time will soon heal the scars left by the workforce.

Also I do hope people realise that the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust are only trying to put it back to how the Heathland looked on aerial photos taken in 1947.


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