Thames Basin Heaths SPA – Restructuring

Background

When the World Flora Fauna program was first established, the Directory appears to have put together with limited knowledge of the UK’s designated areas.

Originally, reference GFF-121 was defined as Castle Bottom – which is assumed to have meant the small area designated as a National Nature Reserve.

Previously, as adding new references was nigh on impossible, the GFF Committee extended and clarified the scope of GFF-121 to include all 13 separate Sites of Special Scientific Importance (SSSIs) within the wider Thames Basin Heaths SPA.

Subsequently, after representation from potential activators, some standalone parts of the SPA were granted their own GFF/WWFF references:

  • 2014-03-13: GFF-296 allocated to Chobham Common SSSI (and NNR)
  • 2015-10-04: GFF-316 allocated to Ockham and Wisley Commons SSSI
  • 2016-01-08: GFF-320 allocated to Hazeley Heath SSSI (and RSPB Reserve)

With the benefit of hindsight, and now that adding new references is easier, the original decision is no longer sustainable, and therefore the decision has been made to assign separate references to each of the standalone components of the SPA.

Relevant Designations

Most (but not quite all) of Castle Bottom NNR forms part of the Castle Bottom to Yateley and Hawley Commons Site of Special Scientific Importance (SSSI).

The NNR and the SSSI designated areas both form part of the Natura2000 designated Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA), which also encompasses a number of other local SSSIs – including some of those that form the northern part of the Thursley, Ash, Pirbright and Chobham Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Clarification

Three distinct areas have been activated under the GFF-121 banner>  To avoid confusion, the original designation of GFF-121 (Castle Bottom NNR) shall be restored, whilst the other two areas assigned their own references, as follows:

  • GFF-0121 : Castle Bottom NNR
  • GFF-0324 : Ash to Brookwood Heaths SSSI (aka Pirbright Ranges)
  • GFF-0325 : Colony Bog and Bagshot Heaths SSSI

The remainder of the SPA shall be assigned references as follows:

  • Castle Bottom to Yateley and Hawley Commons SSSI (including Castle Bottom NNR)
    • GFF-0121 : Castle Bottom NNR
    • GFF-0345 : Hawley Common SSSI
    • GFF-0321 : Yateley Common Country Park
    • GFF-0346 : Yateley Heath Woods SSSI
  • The northern segments of the Thursley, Ash, Pirbright and Chobham SAC consisting:
    • GFF-0324 : Ash to Brookwood Heaths SSSI (aka Pirbright Ranges)
    • GFF-0296 : Chobham Common SSSI and NNR
    • GFF-0325 : Colony Bog and Bagshot Heaths SSSI
  • The remaining SSSIs that form the Thames Basin Heaths SPA:
    • GFF-0316 : Ockham and Wisley Commons SSSI
    • GFF-0320 : Hazeley Heath SSSI (and RSPB Reserve)
    • GFF-0322 : Bourley and Long Valley SSSI (incorporating Heath Brow and Eelmore Marsh SSSIs)
    • GFF-0347 : Bramshill SSSI
    • GFF-xxxx : Broadmoor to Bagshot Woods and Heaths SSSI
    • GFF-xxxx : Horsell Common SSSI
    • GFF-xxxx : Sandhurst to Owlsmoor Bogs and Heaths SSSI
    • GFF-xxxx : Whitmoor Common SSSI

Notes:

  1. The remaining parts of the Thursley, Ash, Pirbright and Chobham Special Area of Conservation (SAC) are included within GFF-0207.
  2. Even though they fall within the “boundary” of the Thames Basin Heaths, a number of other SSSIs are currently not designated as being part of the SPA.

Consequences for Hunters

The established principals of reassignment, as used by DXCC and IOTA (amongst others) were adopted. Following this restructuring, all QSOs made within GFF-0121 have been assessed, and (where appropriate) reallocated.

Any hunter who has logged GFF-121 will now find that they have been credited with (one or more of) GFF-0121, GFF-0324 and/or GFF-0325 depending on which part of (the old) GFF-0121 the activity was from.

It is the firm intention to activate all the above areas repeatedly over the coming months…

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