The aim is to re-establish important heathland and unfortunately this does mean that removal of some trees is necessary. It should be noted that as the heath was farmed during the WWII, very few of the trees are older than 70 years. Also the soil is not of a quality that would support a healthy widespread woodland.
However, the Heath does also have a diverse ecology and tree species are part of this, that provide habitats and food for species across the ecological spectrum.
The heath has a large amount of Silver Birch, and Alder, from the birch family. These are fast growing trees that will readily colonise open ground, which has happened on the heath. This encroachment in the open areas hampers the aim to re-establish the heathers.
The Heath has a large amount of Silver Birch and Oaks, with a smaller spread of Alder. The birches are trees that will readily colonise open ground; the aspens will sucker once they are established and the oaks will take over from both over a longer period of time. If left untouched for 50 years, Tiptree Heath would have become an oak woodland with very little undergrowth.
The Gorse is a tough spiky shrub which flowers from September to May. On warm days the flowers smell of coconut. When the seed pods form they burst on a hot summer’s day and you will hear the cracking noise as you pass. The gorse is good for perching birds and sheltering insects, but unfortunately it overpowers the heather in open areas.
However, the trees and gorse are an important part of the biodiversity of the Heath as long as a good balance is kept, which is why in the winter months you will often see work parties striving to maintain that balance by trimming and clearing areas in rotation.