Chalk grassland has been likened to tropical rainforests for the rich diversity of wildlife it holds, with Tarmac and partners instrumental in restoring threatened chalk grassland located at Ladds Farm in Snodland, Kent.
Mainly found on limestone and chalk valleys where the soils are lime rich and nutrient poor, chalk grassland provides ideal conditions for a range of flora and fauna to flourish – including flowers, insects, especially butterflies, mammals and birds. Chalk grassland often houses more than 40 plant species per square metre, which is double that of intensive grassland habitats.
Michael Charlton, Tarmac’s mineral estates manager, said: “We have been working in collaboration for 10 years with Old Chalk New Downs, Kent Wildlife Trust, and our tenant farmer to restore chalk grassland habitats at Ladds Farm.
“During the period, we have cut back acres of scrub, reinstated historic fencing and improved the connectivity of the farm to allow for more targeted and effective grazing across the escarpment. In doing so, our flock of 70 Hebridean sheep maintain a mixed sward height encouraging wildflowers, insects and butterflies.”
Steve Weeks, area manager for Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “Kent Wildlife Trust has had a long association with Tarmac and it is great to work with a large landowner that recognises the value of their land for wildlife and actively works to improve it. Ladds Farm is a very special place for many rare and unusual plants and animals and the recent works have helped secure it for the future.”
Jenny Price, Old Chalk New Downs project manager, said: “The Old Chalk New Downs project aims to improve habitats and connectivity along the Kent North Downs escarpment. It is wonderful to have Tarmac choosing to join our project, working in partnership with neighbouring landowners to protect our valuable natural resources. This landscape-scale approach not only protects the biodiversity of Ladd’s Farm, but contributes to improving the sustainability of the wider environment.”