Chilterns Chalk Grassland Project

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Monkey Lady Orchids in the chalk grasslandMonkey Lady Orchids in the chalk grassland - Andy Fairbairn

Over the past sixty years almost 80% of the UK’s unique and fragile chalk grassland has been lost.

Chalk grassland supports a diverse range of plant and animal species, and can have up to forty different species per square metre of grassland. This precious habitat continues to be lost due to intensified agricultural practices, development and mismanagement.

Map of Chilterns Chalk Grassland Living Landscape Project

Wildlife

The species that depend on chalk grassland, including rare orchids and butterflies, are under serious threat due to the loss of this precious habitat. Special chalk grassland species include: 

What BBOWT has done

BBOWT is fortunate enough to own and manage twelve of the best chalk grassland sites throughout the Chilterns. In January 2010, we embarked on an exciting two year project to restore and enhance these nature reserves by grazing to control scrub, the woody growth that takes over grassland if left unmanaged.

We built fences and stock pens so that our cattle, sheep and ponies can be left to manage the grassland for us.  We also worked to clear scrub ourselves.  This work has allowed the flowers of chalk grassland to flourish, along with all of the butterflies and other insects that depend on it.

A-Z of Wildlife

Photo of Adder

Name: Adder

Scientific name: Vipera berus

Category: Reptiles

View full A-Z

Grassland

Chalk grassland by Matthew Roberts

There are several different types of grassland, characterised by their soil types. Chalk grassland develops on shallow, lime-rich soils that are poor in nutrients. In spring and summer, these special habitats come to life, as swathes of wild flowers attract hordes of butterflies. Find out about Lowland Calcareous Grassland.

Monitoring Wildlife

Dark Green Fritillary by Keith Warmington

We are always very keen to receive any ad hoc wildlife records you may collect from our reserves. Find out how to send your data to us.