The Stunning North Downs

The Downs are a unique area of natural beauty combining chalk grassland slopes, rich wildflower meadows and ancient woodland. They are home to many wild plants and animals. Chalk grasslands are found on thin soils over chalk rocks and were originally created by the clearance of trees and bushes around 6,000 years ago and kept open by grazing livestock.

All of the pictures below were taken on my regular walk 

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The UK has about half of the world's chalk grassland found mainly in southern and eastern counties. However, changes in farming practices, urbanisation and lack of grazing has led to large areas of chalk grassland being lost over the last 50 years.

A wide variety of birds can be found including Skylark, Green Woodpecker, Yellow Hammer and Linnet.

Chalk grasslands can support a wide variety of plants including Round Headed Rampion, Salad Burnet, Birdfoot Trefoil, Small Scabious and one of Britains rarest the Greater Yellow Rattle.

Almost half of all species of butterfly found in Britain can be seen in the Happy Valley area of the Downs; including the Common Blue, Brimstone and Burnet Moth.

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