Back to Chalk in the Capital Downs

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A project focusing on London's downland – the dry valley systems containing chalk grassland, chalk scrub and woodland.

London's downland area skirts the North Downs and encompass a relatively large number of SSSIs and other important wildlife sites, in among other land uses – arable farmland, pasture, golf courses, pick-your-own, and garden centres.

These characteristic habitats are critically important for a suite of species otherwise uncommon in London, including a range of specialist butterflies (such as small blue and dark green fritillary), orchids, herbaceous plants, and reptiles.

The downs are also important for local amenity, but also have significant international importance as being the location of where Charles Darwin set out his theories on natural selection - now part of a proposal for the Darwin's Landscape Laboratory World Heritage Site status.

The Trust completed a project called From Thorn to Orchid on a number of its chalky reserves, and Back to Chalk, a project to restore foundations for this Living Landscape area.

We contributed to the London's Downlands ALGG Area Framework, and are investigating with partners the development of a significant funding project to take forward aspirations developed by a number of conservation partners over the past 15 years.