This is the start of the Wood and Wetland Nature Trail, after taking in the delights of the grassland follow the path into the woodland.
A unique landscape: Lowland acid grasslands develop on acidic glacial sands and gravel with nutrient poor soils. This special habitat attracts its own range of bees, butterflies and other insects, grasses and wildflowers. It is a priority habitat listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) as there has been a substantial decline in acid grassland in the UK in the 20th century through afforestation, agricultural improvement and neglect.
A delicate balance: Traditionally these historic estate lands were grazed until the mid-20th century, once this ceased it was taken over by scrub and woodland. Management of the grassland is now reversing this decline and loss of the characteristic acid grassland species. Scything, a traditional grass cutting heritage skill, is one of the ways we manage the grassland as it is very versatile and sympathetic to wildlife.
Green Woodpeckers & Meadow Ants
Can you spot the ant hills on the grassland? These are made by yellow-brown meadow ants and can extend up to a metre below the ground. You can often spot the Green Woodpecker feeding on these ant hills.
Bees & Butterflies
The grassland is home to a number of meadow butterflies like the Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Copper and the Chimney Sweep Moth. You can also spot solitary mining bees hovering around the sandy paths looking to burrow down into the ground. How many different types can you spot?