Species rich and special
Chalk grassland is a special habitat, part of our cultural heritage, developed over hundreds of years of grazing. It is a colorful flower rich and species diverse place.
When you next get the chance, spend some time standing still and quiet in flowery chalk grassland. Listening, you will hear the buzzing, clicks and rattles of insects. Watch the flower heads droop down as laden bees land pollinating the plants as they go.
Spring is all yellow, buttercups and cowslips shine bright in the sunlight. Summer is a medley of pink, purple and blues with marjoram, devils bit scabious and field scabious flowering. Where the short turf occurs, look for eyebright and in August the diminutive autumn-ladies tresses.
Chalk grassland management
Chalk grassland is a managed landscape born from the mouths of sheep and cattle. Grazed for centuries the plants and insects have adapted to life here. Over the 20th century the traditional farming practices were given up in the industrialisation of agriculture. Long grazed grasslands wee ploughed up and the sheep abandoned the steep slopes. The ‘delicate’ plants became swamped by taller grasses and scrub leading to losses of species’ and their populations.