Dunstable Downs Chalk Grassland

Dunstable Downs in winter with the snow on the ground

Chalk grassland is full of life! You may need to look closely but there is a miniature zoo packed with weird and wonderful insects within this habitat.

Chalk grasslands are home to a huge range of different species. They are comparible to rainforests in their biodiversity as you can find up to 40 different species per square metre! They were formed when humans cleared land of trees and shrubs to graze livestock. Chalk grasslands are sadly in decline and maintaining the landscape is expensive and relentless. It is thanks to constant shrub clearing by the Ranger Team that Dunstable Downs can retain its rich biodiversity, as well as that perfect view!

Many plants will only grow in chalk grassland. Here at Dunstable Downs there are many varieties of stunning wild orchid. The orchids and other wildflowers attract rare butterflies. Dunstable Downs is home to 32 different species of butterfly such as the Duke of Burgundy.

You can help to protect this unique habitat by becoming a National Trust member, or by visiting the centre at Dunstable Downs. All of the profits from car parking charges, cafe and shop purchases are used to maintain this special place.