Looking after this special place

Keith Steggall, National Trust Wiltshire Landscape Ranger Keith Steggall National Trust Wiltshire Landscape Ranger
Yellow flower

The Stonehenge Landscape is unique, and the management is a careful balance of looking after the archaeology, the nature and making it accessible for people to visit and enjoy.

With its World Heritage Site status, the primary focus in the Stonehenge Landscape is always the protection of the archaeology, it is also home to some impressive wildlife, often management for nature can also work well for the archaeological landscape.

We regularly monitor erosion or damage to the monuments in the landscape, closing off areas where time is needed to allow for recovery, and using woodchip in gateways and on paths to prevent erosion.

Many of the Bronze Age barrows are mown or strimmed to prevent the development of scrub and allow the profile to be seen, it also deters burrowing by rabbits.  Some barrows have good chalk grassland flora, cutting is timed to allow flowers to set seed.

Since 2000, National Trust has reverted around 240 hectares of arable land back to grassland, protecting archaeology and working towards creating large areas of species-rich chalk grassland.  We work closely with the tenant farmers on management of all grassland to improve species diversity.  To help with this process, chalk grassland seed harvested from Salisbury plain is over-sown to improve the quality of the sward.

Volunteers carry out vital botanical monitoring in the reversion fields in June each year to keep a close eye on progress.  Also, farmland butterflies are monitored each year as part of a national butterfly monitoring scheme.

Within the woodlands, a rotation of hazel coppicing is carried out which opens up areas, giving a more diverse structure to the wood and creating glades to benefit ground flora, butterflies and birds.

This is a well visited landscape, we ensure paths are strimmed to keep them open and that gates and fences are safe and stockproof.