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Weybridge heath

The Weybridge Heath is a heath in Weybridge within which many species of ants formerly occurred, in addition to rare birds and insectivorous plants.

During the 1970s and '80s the heathland fell into a poor state of being on account of the surround brush being ill-maintained and the practice of coppicing (essential for the maintenance of small heaths) no longer being carried out. Gradually, the area became more and more overgrown with newly grown brush composed of the saplings of deciduous trees, and became to resemble more of a young wood. Because of the area's record of rare species of insect, plant and bird, the council embarked upon a project to renew the heathland and encourage the return of the area to its original habitat type, which is still ongoing. It consisted of the removal of a large number of taller trees from a central portion of the site, and the clearing of brush from this area, and it took place at around the turn of the century. Evidence of the regrowth of heathland is not great to date (2003), and some local residents are sceptical about the apparent defacement of the area, dubbing the cleared area "the bomb site".

It was on the original heath in this location that brilliant British myrmecologist Horace Donisthorpe collected many of the ants from which he produced so many astute observations and deductions.

Weybridge Council hopes that this irreplacable piece of entomological history will be returned to something approaching its former glory with a decade from the inception of the heath restoration endeavour.