Fire devours pretty heather-clad common in Sheffield

Fire damage on Wadsley and Loxley Common (pic: Wadsley and Loxley Commoners (www.wadsley-loxley.org))
Fire damage on Wadsley and Loxley Common (pic: Wadsley and Loxley Commoners (www.wadsley-loxley.org))
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Flames have swept across a heather-clad common in Sheffield, undoing years of hard work by volunteers to restore its natural beauty.

A large patch of Wadsley and Loxley Common was ravaged by the fire, destroying the flourishing vegetation and leaving a scorched wasteland in its wake.

Volunteers have spent years working to get heather flourishing on the common

Volunteers have spent years working to get heather flourishing on the common

Firefighters were called to the common on Tuesday afternoon, after the blaze broke out in the quarry area, where heather, gorse bushes and some conifers were reduced to cinders.

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Wadsley and Loxley Commoners (WALC) said volunteers from the group, aided by members of the North Sheffield Conservation Group and Sheffield Conservation Volunteers had spent several years encouraging heather to grow and prosper in that spot, restoring it to a lowland heath.

He said it should not take too long for plants to grow again but there was no guarantee the heather it had been covered with would return.

WALC committee members John and Anne Robinson, who witnessed the fire said it was not believed to have been started deliberately.

The group said there is no guarantee the heather will return following the fire

The group said there is no guarantee the heather will return following the fire

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"On Tuesday about 3.30pm, we walked to the bottom car park as we had smelt a lot of smoke and then heard the fire engine. There was one engine there and we walked up to the quarry where most of the right hand bank was alight. The fire officers were using beaters and backpacks with small hoses.

"Eventually two engines managed to get up to just below the quarry and they were then able to drag hoses up to finish putting out the fire. One of the firefighters told us it was probably caused by the hot weather and that they didn't suspect anything suspicious."