The Great Wilderness Down GrantScape Conservation Project

Friday 16th May 2014

dragonfly in flightDragonfly © Kent Wildlife Trust

The three year GrantScape funded project centred on the Stalisfield area on the North Downs was completed on the 31st March 2014.

The primary aim of the project was to realise the potential to restore and create chalk grassland surrounded by a mixture of habitats with the aim of recreating a landscape of real biodiversity value.

The Project objectives have been achieved. Areas of species rich grassland have been created and maintained, along with areas of semi-natural ancient woodland. These areas have been linked with wildlife friendly corridors such as field margins, hedgerows and clusters of new ponds. The habitat has been improved for the benefit of a large spectrum of rare and declining plants and animals. Targeted mammal species such as dormice, and birds including grey partridge, skylark and yellowhammer will benefit from the creation and restoration of the conditions that they rely on. Grassland plants will now flourish from sympathetic grazing management along with reptiles; slow worms, grass snakes and common lizards are all found in the vicinity. The new two year old ponds are already populated by common frogs, smooth newts and a number of dragonfly species.

In addition to the primary aims of the Project, Kent Wildlife Trust now own and manage Bowl Wood and adjacent former arable land, along with nearby Cole Wood. Six areas of chalk grassland are under Trust management and conservation grazing is in effect over some 141 acres. Twenty new ponds, in clusters over three sites, have been created with enormous input from Kent Wildlife Volunteers. A network of rides and glades have been created and maintained, allowing warmth and light to reach the woodland floor.

The Wilderness Down Project area can be found just north of Charing village.

Tagged with: Living Landscapes