Save Saltbox Hill

Save Saltbox Hill

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The 17 acre site on Saltbox Hill is recognised as one of the richest wildlife sites in Greater London and without urgent action the wildlife that thrives on the open sunny grassland will be lost.  Thanks to the London Wildlife trust and Bromley council this area is to be saved and turned into a Nature reserve.

Saltbox Hill is one of the last surviving fragments of chalk downland that is not fully protected and is home to a myriad of wild flowers, orchards and butterflies. The owner of the land has agreed to sell the land to London Wildlife trust who intend to manage it as a valuable nature reserve.

 

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“very rarely does a site of such importance as this for wildlife become available” said Sir DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, vice-president of the Wildlife Trust. “The London Wildlife Trust is to be praised for taking the initiative in wanting to purchase this area both for its captivating wildlife interest and to guarantee its future forever”.

Traditionally sheep would have grazed the site, keeping the grassland rich in the wild flowers and grasses that are so vital for the survival of butterflies and other invertebrates. Saltbox has not been managed for many years and could be in danger of being ploughed up and built over with the ever increasing demand for housing in the S.E. of England.

Saltbox Hill is officially designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is one of the nations finest treasures, home to many rare species. it has flora such as bee orchard, pyramid orchard, fly orchard, wild basil, quaking grass, white helleborine, fly orchard, man orchard, cowslip, yellow rattle,meadow oat grass and horseshoe vetch.  It also has increasingly scarce butterflies including the chalkhill blue, grizzled skipper, dingy skipper and dark green fritillary. Adjacent woodland harbours woodpeckers, nuthatches and treecreepers, skylark lizard, cricket, wayfaring-tree, buckthorn, dogwood,

There are three parts to Saltbox Hill. London Wildlife Trust has purchased the first 17 acres with the support of trust members, concerned local residents, the Hanson Environment Fund, charitable trusts, London Borough of Bromley and BAA. The trust is actively negotiating to buy the remaining two parts to add to the mosaic of downland areas managed for conservation

There is still two section of land to acquire, and donations towards the appeal should be sent to London Wildlife Trust, Freepost PAM 4658, London SE1 0YW.

Councillor Gostt, Chairman of Bromley Council’s development Control Committee and ward member for Biggin Hill says: “We are delighted to support the London Wildlife Trust is securing the future of this species rich in grassland. Saltbox Hill is a very prominent site. It is on the doorstep of local residents and is criss-crossed by public footpaths. I hope that many people will help in the restoration, by coming along to the nature reserve on Sunday, November 21st”

Greater Yellow Rattle

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