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Future secure for Hazeley Heath
HEATHLAND near Hartley Wintney will remain a haven for ground-nesting birds after part of it was bought by the RSPB.
The conservation charity received a £859,900 lottery grant to buy 110 hectares of Hazeley Heath from the Timpany Trust.
The heathland, which runs between Hartley Wintney and Mattingley, is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest by Natural England as it provides an ideal home for ground-nesting birds, such as the Dartford warbler, nightjar and woodlark.
All three species of bird are considered so important that they are protected by European legislation.
Chris Corrigan, regional director for RSPB South East England, said: “This is an exciting development for us, Hazeley Heath is a tremendous piece of heathland.
“We are grateful to the Timpany family for providing the opportunity to purchase the site.”
The charity plans to maintain footpaths on the site and install “low-key” information signs about the site’s heritage. The work will be carried out by volunteers.
The purchased land lies within Mattingley parish. The southern part of the heath, in the Hartley Wintney parish, is owned and maintained by Hart District Council.
Councillor Sara Kinnell, Hart portfolio holder for leisure and recreation, said: “We are delighted with the news.”
She said the RSPB could now join the Hazeley Heath Partnership and help deliver “a positive future” for the heath.