Heathland

Heathland is a nationally scarce and globally restricted habitat. Every patch of heathland is precious no matter how small. The heathland present on the cliff-tops at Warren Glen and Firehills is maritime heath, which is even scarcer and of a different character to the larger expanses of heathland inland such as Ashdown Forest and the west sussex heaths around Midhurst.

Warren Glen, Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve
Warren Glen, Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve.

Heathland is more of a landscape type rather than a habitat and contained within it are a mosaic of different habitats such as dwarf scrub communities consisting of heather, bell heather and dwarf gorse, acid grassland, patches of bracken and gorse and wetland components such as ponds and streams. Another very important heathland habitat is bare ground where sandy soil and bedrock is exposed.

Oxybelus uniglumis (Glyne Gap, East Sussex)
Spiny Digger Wasp (Oxybelus uniglumis), Glyne Gap, East Sussex.

This bare ground provides nesting habitat for many species of solitary bees and wasps such as the bee-wolf wasp Philanthus triangulum, the spiny digger wasp Oxybelus uniglumis and ornate-tailed digger wasp Cerceris rybyensis.

Cerceris rybyensis
Ornate-tailed Digger Wasp (Cerceris rybyensis), White Rock Gardens.

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