True heathlands are where heathers and bilberry form more than a quarter of the vegetation as these plants can be found on other habitats such as blanket bog. The heathers provide cover and shelter to a number of other species such as Red grouse. Lowland heath is more diverse in species, supporting a number of insects attracted to the mix of plant life and areas of warm bare ground.
Gorse, grasses, bracken and trees all occur scattered over heathlands and provide more opportunities for wildlife. However, these species all tend to shade out the low-growing heather and must be kept in check. This is usually done by a combination of burning and grazing. It was this management that encouraged the development of heathland across the National Park.
Grazing management is critically important to maintaining a heathly structure to the heaths. Much of the heathland in the Brecon Beacons occurs of Common land and so is grazed by the animals turned out by the Commoners.
Use the navigation bar on the left to explore other upland habitats.