Compared to many areas of Britain, the High Weald has a relatively high number of ancient, species-rich grasslands supporting an incredible variety of plants, animals, waxcaps and other fungi.
It also has a high number of ‘low input’ grasslands i.e. grasslands which are not as species-rich, but because of their undisturbed soils and lack of chemical inputs, are also extremely valuable.
Ancient grasslands are still one of the area’s most endangered habitats; and low input grasslands are also increasingly threatened.
How we can help
We provide practical support to landowners and communities seeking to manage, restore and extend grassland for wildlife in the Weald, including:
- Advice on traditional and new management techniques, for example mobile planned grazing systems and no-fence technology
- Advice and training on grassland enhancement and creation techniques including site preparation, establishment and after care techniques
- Guidance on sourcing plant plugs and wildflower and grass seed, in particular Weald Native Origin Seed, for enhancement and creation projects
- Details of grant schemes to support grassland surveying, creation, restoration and management projects.
- Direction to other land managers and contractors who may be able to offer you practical advice and support.
If you manage or own land with grassland in the High Weald, please get in touch for advice and guidance.
Why is ‘unimproved’ grassland important?
Ancient grassland is a ‘semi-natural habitat’ that has been created by human management of the landscape over centuries.
In the High Weald, with its heavy clay soils and steep slopes, many of these grasslands have not been ploughed for crops, or re-sown with vigorous grasses. Instead, they have been used for rearing livestock and producing hay with little use of chemicals, for example fertiliser.
These ancient grasslands are some of our most important habitats for wildlife conservation, supporting up to 100 kinds of grasses and wildflowers – which, in turn, support a great variety of insects and other creatures.
Weald Meadows Initiative – championing the High Weald’s grassland habitat
Over the past 25 years the High Weald AONB Partnership has been at the vanguard of meadow restoration, helping to stem the decline of traditional grasslands and ensure the successful establishment of new species-rich meadows on a landscape scale.
The Weald Meadows Initiative was led by the High Weald AONB Partnership from 1996 to 2010, raising awareness of the value of meadows and providing practical support to farmers and land managers to reverse their decline.
This much-needed conservation work is being continued by the Weald Meadows Partnership – a partnership between private grassland specialist, co-ordinator and experienced consultant Dawn Brickwood, the High Weald Landscape Trust, Agrifactors (Southern) Ltd. It also includes meadow owners and managers, the High Weald AONB Partnership and extended partners such as RBG Kew.
For more information about the Weald Meadows Partnership or Weald Native Origin Seed please contact Dawn Brickwood.