Lowland heaths (heathland below 300m, above which it becomes moorland) are landscapes of acidic soils, rich in shrubby plants like heathers and Gorse, and trees such as Scots Pine and Birch.
Like most habitats in our country of smallish islands, heathland is almost certainly manmade in origin, only being prominent after deforestation and grazing a few thousand years ago.
There are currently less than 60,000 hectares of lowland heath left in the UK, which is only a fifth of what we had 200 years ago. It is a habitat very rich in invertebrates and plants, as well as vertebrates such as all six of our reptile species.
Bird-wise it is much lower in diversity, but what it lacks in species numbers it makes for in quality. Birds such as Dartford Warbler, Stonechat, Wood Lark, Tree Pipit and Nightjar thrive in this country. And it is these species which are the big draw for birders during spring into summer.
No birdwatching year is complete without at least one visit to a heath, and particular lingering into the dusk to see and hear the wonderful Nightjar.