Worcestershire Record No. 23 November 2007 p. 53


Dr Joy M Rooney

(written 30th October 2007)

Hartlebury Common is an ancient site of global importance being the largest natural heathland in Worcestershire (91 hectares) with a habitat similar to costal regions without the salt. It consists chiefly of heathland but there is also mixed woodland, planted woodland, a large bog area and a large pool.

The flora and fauna is widely recorded and botanical records can be found in Amphlett and Rea (1909). During the 1980’s Tucker (1980, 1981) and others (1986) recorded what they could find and Scott (unpublished) updated records until his retirement in around 2000 and continues the BTO breeding bird survey annually since 1988.

Worcestershire County Council holds databases containing all species recorded on Hartlebury Common which are also partly or fully held by The Worcestershire Biological Record Centre (Wood, unpublished).

However, since the 1990’s, as far as I know, no concerted recording has occurred by biological recorders on Hartlebury Common for most species.

With the successful BBC Breathing Places grant from The Big Lottery Fund conservation work is about to begin (October 2007 – February 2008) for the first time for many years due to lack of funding. The site is classified as an SSSI failing but not irrecoverable.

More recently, (Anstey, 2007), the Worcestershire Moth Group and Hartlebury Common Local Group had two live moth trapping nights in July and August and 200 species were recorded including a number of rarities. A late fungus foray was held last November and several interesting species were recorded (unpublished).

I would urge you as Worcestershire Biological Recorders to undertake regular visits during the next years to Hartlebury Common to determine which species are really now present there with the aim of producing an up to date species list which could be published or at least made user friendly for the visitors to the common to buy.

Since November 2007 I have been organising monthly talks of natural history interest in Stourport Workingmen’s Club on Mondays near the beginning of the month and these are set to continue through the Winter with the next talk being on November 10th with Dave Scott talking about the BTO Breeding Bird Survey, all are welcome. There is a website at www.hartleburycommonlocalgroup.org.uk and I can be contacted on 01299 877275 should you have the need or interest.


ANON 2000. The 2000 – 2010 Management Plan for Hartlebury Common
ANSTEY C. 2007 Five rare species of moth seen on county common. Worcester News 1 September 2007
AMPHLETT J & REA C 1909. The Botany of Worcestershire. Cornish. Birmingham.
TUCKER J J (1980) The Management Plan for Hartlebury Common
TUCKER, J J (1981) Annotated check-list of the vascular plants and ferns of Hartlebury Common LNR
TUCKER, J J, ZALUCKYI, S & ALMA, P J (1986) Hartlebury Common A Social and Natural History. County Council of Hereford and Worcester, County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester WR5 2NP
WOOD, S (unpublished) Species list for Hartlebury Common & Hillditch Coppice. Worcestershire Biological Record Centre
WORCESTERSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL COUNTRYSIDE SERVICE. (unpublished) Species lists for Hartlebury Common.


Joy Rooney emailed me shortly before Christmas and amongst other things wrote:

We have finished clearing trees from the bog land area now and have moved onto the lower common clearing and burning dense scrub. We have held six weekend work parties and also meet every Friday morning with Stourport High School.

It would be lovely to have the experts' view on what is really still there and how our clearance work may increase biodiversity of this lowland heathland.

It is probable that we shall hold the Field Recording day at Hartlebury Common in August in 2008. Full details will be circulated with booking forms in February 2008.

Apart from that we do encourage all recorders to make some visits to Hartlebury Common during the summer and send the records in to the WBRC. It is one of our most important heaths and it will be very interesting to follow the impact of management on the flora and fauna.