Chalk grassland restoration at Totternhoe

Totternhoe by Caroline Fitton

The rare chalk grassland at Totternhoe, Beds has benefitted from restoration work thanks to a generous grant from Biffa Award

Totternhoe nature reserve in Bedfordshire is a site rich in biodiversity with a fascinating history. Soft chalk limestone has been quarried here since medieval times with the stone used in the interior of many churches - including Westminster Abbey. Its function as a quarry  ended in the 1970s, since then the site has become a wildlife-rich haven for more than half the UK species of butterfly, including the rare Duke of Burgundy, plentiful amounts of orchids and all kinds of other species. 

Restoration work over the last 18 months, thanks to a Biffa Award grant of £18,755.60 has funded the installation of fencing, allowing sheep to be contained in areas where they can successfully graze sloping sections, which in turn allows chalk loving species to thrive. Areas of scrub and wild clematis have been cleared meaning that a variety of orchids can grow in abundance, and the purchase of a much needed water bowser was also made possible.

In July 2019 the reserve was featured on BBC Countryfile with a focus on an ongoing butterfly research project, a collaboration with the Trust's reserves team and researchers from dept of Zoology, Cambridge University.

Keeping any nature reserve in great condition is vital for wildlife and for people - this chalk grassland restoration project was funded with the help of Biffa Award, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.

Thanks also go to the Wixamtree Trust, The Spear Charitable Trust, The Robert Kiln Charitable Trust, Mrs BL Robinson's Charitable Trust and  Ollie's Donation for funding towards the Bedfordshire North Chilterns Chalk reserves.

 

Chalk grassland restoration, Totternhoe