Scrub Bash at Whiteleaf Hill

This week we hosted the Chiltern Conservation Board’s annual Scrub Bash at Whiteleaf Hill Nature Reserve. Over 80 volunteers turned out on a wonderful winter’s day to help restore the important chalk grassland on the steep scarp slope.

Our regular volunteers were joined by others from a whole host of different groups and organisations including students from the Berkshire College of Agriculture, staff from CCB, Chiltern Rangers, Butterfly Conservation, The National Trust, Chiltern Woodlands Project and the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.

The focus of the day’s work was to clear encroaching scrub from the chalk grassland to improve the opportunities for wildflowers to flourish and to support species such as the endangered Chalk Hill Blue butterfly. A huge effort was invested by everyone who attended, only stopping to to have a BBQ lunch and admire the stunning views. Over the course of the day the volunteers managed to clear almost half of the slope which will be a huge help to the regular Whiteleaf Hill volunteer team in their on going efforts to restore and manage this habitat in years to come.

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Woolly lawnmowers on the move

The flock of Herdwick sheep that had been grazing our Brush Hill site have now returned to Prestwood Local Nature Reserve to help us manage the important chalk grassland there. By grazing the more aggressive grass and plant species, they make room for a more diverse range of wildflowers that will, in turn, support a wide range of insects and bird life.

Herdwicks are particularly suited to this type of work – a hardy breed, brought up on the rough grazing and steep slopes of the UK’s upland areas, they are used to being outside in all weathers.

If you visit the site, please help us keep them safe and healthy by:

  • Keeping your dog on a lead and under close control
  • Giving the sheep plenty of space
  • Sticking to the footpaths

If you notice that the sheep are in difficulty, or if you have any concerns please call us on 01494 771250.

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Restoring Whiteleaf Cross

Our volunteers have put in a huge amount of effort over the last month to give the Whiteleaf Cross a much needed make over. Taking advantage the wonderful Autumn weather, they have made great progress by meticulously weeding and scouring the surface of the cross revealing the bright white chalk beneath giving this iconic hill figure a new lease of life.

Following the additional work by a three man team of specialist contractors who spent two days cleaning the lower and much steeper slopes beneath the cross, the restoration is well on its way to being complete.

Read more about Whiteleaf Hill and its heritage here.

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Sponsor a slice of nature…

Over the next twelve months, we’ll launching a number of special projects to help protect Chiltern woodlands. 21% of the Chilterns is covered in woodland, which is double the national average, and over half of that is ancient woodland that’s been in existence since before 1600.

Unfortunately however, many difficult challenges including disease, climate and poor management pose major threats to our woodlands’ survival. If we are to preserve local woodland properly and encourage the native wildlife to thrive, it will require meticulous management and careful planning. We are giving you a very special opportunity to help us do this by offering the chance to sponsor an acre of woodland at one of our sites.

You can choose to sponsor an acre of either ancient woodland or newly planted woodland. A wonderful way to mark a special occasion, remember a special person or just celebrate your countryside, your sponsorship will go a long way towards helping us to manage local woodland properly and, in turn, provide local wildlife with the best possible habitats.

With only a very limited number of acres available for sponsorship, and given that areas will only be dedicated once, this is a very special opportunity for those who wish to invest in the preservation of their local countryside.
We are also offering tree sponsorship, the proceeds from which will also help us to manage Chiltern woodland more effectively.

Acres and individual trees can be sponsored in the following locations: Bottom Wood, near Stokenchurch; Captain’s Wood near Chesham; and Penn Jubilee Wood, a newly planted site.

To find out more, and to apply for sponsorship, please click here.

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