New Life for Chalk Grassland Bissett Down Reserve Wiltshire WT cpt Steve Day
important on a global scale... and under threat
The steep chalk escarpments of Wiltshire define the County but are also important on a global scale.
The UK is a stronghold for chalk grassland and Wiltshire contains 40% of the world total.
The wildflower-rich sward and associated birds, mammals and insects that together form the intricate beauty of chalk grassland are under threat, and their numbers are declining. The Trust’s New Life for Chalk Grassland project aims to help halt this process by restoring grassland and reverting marginal arable land back to grassland.
Virtual tour by Mike McFarlane
Since 2008, we have:
- Rebuilt the habitat mosaic over a vast area.
- Identified areas between sites that could be reseeded with downland species, thereby starting the whole process of linking isolated areas.
- Reinstated grazing where grassland has become overgrown.
- Offered free advice to landowners on chalk grassland and grant-aid schemes.
- Set up a farming enterprise that will supply Dexter cattle and native breed sheep for grazing to keep down brambles, hawthorns, ash seedlings and coarse grasses, which left unattended, would shade out the wildflowers.
With our expert project team working alongside landowners and offering free advice on chalk grassland management and grant-aid schemes, we’ve been able to begin sustaining viable populations by creating suitable, accessible habitats across a wider region, reseeding areas between the broader sites with downland flora species.
Our work, jointly funded by Grantscape and Biffaward, continues to make progress.
Start date: 2008
Scheme area: 158,990 hectares
Trust reserves within the scheme
This scheme is helping species including...
Current threats to the landscape
Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation
This scheme is also...
Helping wildlife adapt to climate change, providing volunteering opportunities and producing local food
To find out more
Email: email@example.com | Tel: 01380 725670