In some planet-positive news in these troubled times, key restoration work on the landscape atop the famous White Cliffs Of Dover has allowed nature to Flourish during this UK summer.
Due to years of intensive farming, the well-known part of the British Landscape had become totally depleted of flora and fauna. After a £1m appeal by Dame Vera Lynn, the National Trust managed to acquire the fields and have worked hard to restore the area to rich grassland.
As seen above, poppies have become a vivid picture, along with buttercups and ox-eye daisies. Bird populations are blooming, the area abundant with Skylarks, Corn Buntings, Partridges and Meadow Pippets. Amazingly, even birds of prey such as Peregrine Falcons are benefiting, mainly due to an increase in Pigeon numbers which is their main source of prey.
The area that the trust bought in 2017 totals 178 acres, and the Trust’s immediate aim was to reverse 70 years of intensive farming that commenced following World War 2. In 2018, Barley was sown to remove some of the nutrients of the fertile soil, preparing it for a grass and wildflower mix. This is because chalk grassland typically prefers soil with low nutrient content to thrive!
A “bumblebird” seed mix including cereals, brassicas and wildflowers was sown last autumn to provide birds with a supply of food throughout the winter, and a range of nectar-rich plants for pollinators in the summer. The following wet winter helped create an explosion of colour!
In the longer term, the National Trust is aiming to join up 150 hectares of habitat along the cliffs, linking land bought back in 2012 and 2017.
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