Essential works to conserve rare grassland

ESSENTIAL work to help preserve and restore a rare type of grassland which provides a habitat for a number of scarce plant species is being carried out on the Teversal Trails near Skegby.

Nottinghamshire County Council secured £25,000 of funding from the SITA Trust to undertake habitat management works on five hectares of ‘lowland calcareous’ grassland.

As well as around the Teversal Trails, an area around the Linby Trails is also going to have work done to it.

Coun John Cottee, the county council’s cabinet member for culture and community, said: “It is vital that we treasure and protect the rare plant species and other wildlife which we are fortunate to have in the county and these works will help such species to thrive for the benefit of future generations.”

Only 175 hectares of lowland calcareous grassland exists in the county where it is restricted to small and isolated areas in the west.

The work will involve cutting back trees and bushes that are invading the grassland areas on both trails and mowing the grassland at the end of the summer period to keep it in good condition.

This type of grassland is developed on thin limestone soils and is a national conservation priority habitat which is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

Parts of the Teversal Trails are nationally important for wildlife, being designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The grassland on the Teversal Trails supports the only population of Pale St. John’s Wort in Nottinghamshire.

Other notable species occurring at the site include Frog Orchid and Limestone Fragrant Orchid.

Unfortunately, the Red Hemp-Nettle, a nationally rare species which was last recorded in Nottinghamshire on the Teversal Trails in 1996, is now feared extinct.

The project has also involved treatment of a patch of Japanese knotweed, a highly invasive non-native species. It is hoped that this patch of knotweed will have been eradicated by the time the project has finished next year.