Chalk downland is a haven for wildlife
The North Chilterns are an area of chalk hills in Bedfordshire. The western escarpment of the North Chilterns is steep and has never been suitable for farming, so many pockets of grassland, scrub and woodland remain. Some of the traditional wildflower meadows in these hills have been managed the same way for centuries, creating wonderful habitats for wildflowers, invertebrates and larger animals. They are the grassland equivalent of ancient woodlands.
Wild plants that have disappeared from other parts of Britain, like moon carrot and wild candytuft, can still be found in the North Chilterns. Other wildflowers like fairy flax, rockrose and squinancywort can also be found, as well as scarce orchids, such as the frog orchid and man orchid, and butterflies such as such as the Duke of Burgundy, chalkhill blue and marbled white.
The Trust is working with local communities, land owners and local authorities to connect the rare habitats of the North Chilterns and create a Living Landscape that will ensure the wildlife of these hills and their unique heritage is preserved and allowed to thrive.
Close to Dunstable and Luton, North Chilterns Chalk is perfect for local people to enjoy the sight of meadows alive with butterflies in summer and to walk along paths with fantastic views and red kites soaring overhead.
A volunteer's eye view...
Regular North Chiltern's Chalk volunteer Barbara Ellis gives us her perspective of volunteering with the Wildlife Trust BCN
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