COUNCILLORS discussed a management plan to ‘conserve and enhance’ Herne Hill at a meeting last week.

The draft plan aims to encourage natural vegetation, look after the habitats of rare or endangered species, stabilise slopes and encourage visitors to the area.

Mayor of Ilminster Emma Jane Taylor thought the plan was a good idea to protect the town’s beauty spot but felt it could have emphasised the area’s importance to the town more.

She added: “Herne Hill is key to the town’s historical background and it has a big impact on the area.”

Herne Hill covers 8.2 hectares of land, the same size as ten football pitches, and the town council said, where possible, work to maintain the area would be carried out by its staff.

A volunteer group is on the brink of being set up and councillors said it would be beneficial for people to help on the Herne Hill project as well as other schemes around Ilminster.

Work includes managing footpaths and hedges, with ground cover during winter for nesting birds, and hedges cut every three years.

Coppicing of trees will be carried out in all areas where required after the council has sought professional advice.

The plan hopes to install bird boxes and bat boxes, reduce dense brambles and plant native shrubs.