BBOWT takes over Bacombe Hill Nature Reserve

Steve Keene  |  Published: Dec 4th 2015
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Bacombe Hill is a precious fragment of chalk grassland, scrub and woodland. More than 100 years ago it was identified by Sir Charles Rothschild as a site to be protected. Subsequently, it became one of the original Rothschild Reserves.

Bacombe Hill is a clear example of how much of the Chilterns scarp has changed during the 20th century. Once open chalk downland with little or no scrub, with changes in farming techniques, livestock farming was given up in favour of arable production. If not possible to plough, much of the steep scarp of the Chilterns was abandoned and so the process of succession took hold. By the end of the 20th century the upper slopes were dominated by mature hawthorn scrub.

In recent years Buckinghamshire County Council has carried out a lot of work to reverse this trend. In late 2015 Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust took on the long-term management of Bacombe Hill Nature Reserve on behalf of BCC and the Trust will continue to restore the chalk grassland across the site with rotational scrub clearance as well as coppice work to keep invasive trees in check.

We began the process by putting a small herd of 15 Redpoll cattle on the hill during October and November and then in December we mowed back a lot of the invasive scrub that the cattle could not deal with .

As part of our management of this fabulous chalk grassland reserve we have set up a monthly volunteer work party to help us to control the scrub and weeds on the site. If you would like to join us we meet on the second Thursday of the month - please contact Steve Keene, volunteer warden, email steve_keene@btinternet.com or ring 07544576854.

For more information about this reserve and Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust please go to our website http://www.bbowt.org.uk/reserves/bacombe-hill

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