Dunstable Downs Chalk Grassland

Dunstable Downs to Ivinghoe Beacon on a clear summer's day

Chalk grassland is full of life! You may need to look closely but there are hundreds of weird and wonderful minibeasts 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.

Disappearing asset

Chalk grasslands are sadly in decline and maintaining the landscape is expensive and relentless. It is thanks to constant shrub clearing by our Countryside Team that Dunstable Downs can retain its rich biodiversity, as well as that perfect view!

Orchids and more

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 a wide variety of butterflies. Dunstable Downs is home to 32 different species including the rare Duke of Burgundy.

How you can help

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.