Chalk Grassland Management

Originally created when the woodlands were cleared, this grassland now relies on grazing and cutting to maintain biodiversity. Much of the chalk grassland of Southern England started to decline following the myxomatosis out break of the late 1950’s which destroyed the rabbit population that had kept the downland open. If left alone without grazing or management scrub will invade over time and the delicate habitat will be lost. Scrub1

Nigel has over 30 years of experience managing Chalk Grassland on National Nature reserves and SSS’I sites. He has managed sheep flocks, cleared scrub,
carried out surveys and written management plans on important sites throughout the Chiltern Hills such as Aston Rowant NNR, Watlington Hill, Lodge Hill and the Chequers Estate.

chalk grassland scrubChalk grassland with scrub

Scrub Clearance and Agri-Environment Schemes

Scrub needs to be managed and often removed completely. Fencing may also be needed in order to introduce grazing that will maintain the delicate and diverse sward. We will be pleased to visit your site and assess the work that is needed. Your project may require small scale thinning or wholesale clearance. You may even be a able to enter into an agri environment scheme or apply for funding to manage your site.

scrub clearingClearing scrub

Site Example

orchid on chalk grassland
An orchid on chalk grassland.

Chalk Grassland Management in the Chilterns

A private site near Princess Risborough was almost totally covered with scrub and little open grassland remained. Nigel developed a management plan with the owners and the site was entered into the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. The area was fenced, grazing introduced and a 10 year scrub clearance programme undertaken.

duke of burgandy fritillary
Duke of Burgandy Fritillary

The site is very important for the rare Duke of Burgundy Fritillary which requires quite specific conditions to thrive. In 2006 the site won first prize in the Chilterns Conservation Board awards for best managed conservation site. Management is ongoing and the site is now in the Higher Level Scheme

silver spotted skipper

A silver spotted skipper.