Dating back to the Norman Conquest, Ashdown Forest in the South East of England is one of the UK's largest free public access space. It is also known as the home of Winnie-the-Pooh.
1600 hectares of the forest is heathland which represents 3 percent of all lowland heathland in the UK. This makes it an important national conservation area which is managed by the Ashdown Forest rangers. "Our role is to restore and maintain the area as heathland using a variety of methods including bracken cutting, heather mowing and scrub clearance," explained Mike Payne, a ranger at Ashdown Forest.
To assist the rangers with these conservation activities, a Major 2m MJ2000 Flail Collector was added to the machinery fleet, to cut and collect bracken and grasses in the forest. The rangers at Ashdown Forest mow between 200 - 300 hectares of bracken each year with this machine.
"The Major MJ2000 enables us to effectively manage the heathland by allowing us to cut in difficult terrains and collect the cut material at the same time," said Mike. "We previously used a 4.5m topper but this left the produce behind which still had to be removed from the site."
The adjustable cutting height allows the machine to work a variety of vegetation types. "We've been able to take bracken out of heather areas without having to mow too much of the heather," explained Mike.
When the Ashdown Forest rangers were researching a suitable mowing solution, they were immediately impressed with the overall build of the Major MJ2000. "It is definitely the strongest of the 'cut and collects' that we investigated, within in a really competitive price bracket," said Mike.
The rangers at Ashdown Forest will resume their heathland management programme in June and are looking forward to working again with their Major MJ2000.