Management Plan 2011-2012
Conservation Plans 2011/12
This winter we will be continuing to work to restore natural Downland habitat in key areas throughout the Steyning Downland Scheme. Following the success of the grazing last winter 12 Sussex cattle will be grazing in the Rifle Range again until the end of February. They are a very placid breed, so do go and say hello. 17 cattle will be grazing at Pepperscoombe Bank, at the Newham Lane end of the Horseshoe. This area is very thick with Tor grass, and so will be grazed for longer into the summer to make a bigger difference to the specialist chalk grassland flowers choking underneath. Exact dates will be agreed when we see what difference the grazing makes.
Steyning Coombe, our richest area of chalk grassland, has only been grazed for two weeks to date because of a lack of permanent water supply. This problem has now been solved, but the scrub has become so dense that more clearing is needed before the cattle can be brought in. The Ranger Group will be focussing mainly on this area over the winter, then we are going to put the cattle on in the Spring to get ahead of the scrub regrowth. The chalk grassland flowers will benefit in the long term by a season’s grazing, though 2012’s flowers may get a little chomped. The Ragwort won’t be eaten by the cattle while it is growing in the ground. However, we need to control it to prevent further spread so we will be running a ragwort pulling day in May. Also, over the next few months, the Rangers will be putting a couple more stiles in, following requests from people who use the site.
Steyning Grammar School students will be focussing on the Rifle Range – cutting back some of the scrub growth, which has started to join up into one big block. Butterflies like the new growth around the edges of scrub, so this will create a more varied habitat structure for them. Also, having more, smaller islands of scrub will create more ‘edge’ habitat which will encourage more fruits and berries, benefiting birds and small mammals too. Pathways will also be looked after, making sure they are passable, and will be woodchipped where needed.
You may have heard that some changes are afoot at the ponds. We are currently surveying and researching the area, and making contact with relevant professionals to make sure we make some good decisions that benefit both the wildlife and the people who go there. We will keep you posted when we reach some conclusions. (Updated article can be read here)
In spring 2012, we will start our surveying once more, so if you are interested in birds, bats, bees, botany, or anything else that lives on the site, do make contact.
If you have any questions, or want to join in with any of the groups please contact:
Bryony Webb, Project Manager 01903 812129 email@example.com
Nigel Bowman, Ranger Co-ordinator 07889 802792 firstname.lastname@example.org
Christine Humphreys, Steyning Grammar School Forest School, 07791 437790 email@example.com