Small-scale habitat diversity

  • The dry grassland at Abbey Farm is in either flat or undulating landscape with gradients up to 1:10. However, at a smaller scale, the fields are smooth with very few irregularities from the even soil surface they had as arable land
  • This leaves wildlife exposed to the elements and offers little diversity in small-scale topography and climate
  • We therefore created a small area with a much more undulating micro-topography. It has steep slopes facing in various directions
  • Moving earth to create the undulations has exposed some of the underlying chalk so has increased the diversity of soil conditions, though only on a very small scale
  • At Abbey Farm old mineral workings also create variation in topography. The dry grasslands include one old chalk pit and three marl pits

Other points:

Spreading hay:
Another method of seeding a new grassland site is to spread seed-bearing hay collected from a species-rich grassland site. A possible benefit of this method is that it might introduce spores from grassland fungi which play an important part in the ecosystem

Undulating ground
Digging the undulating ground
Undulating ground
Undulating ground in the first summer after creation
Old mineral pit with varied topography
The varied topography of an old chalk pit