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Nature Recovery by landscape type

Nature Recovery by landscape type

The South Downs National park is designated as one of England’s 10 most special landscapes.  The National Park is central to nature recovery in the busy South East, but it is important that we restore and create the right habitats in the right place.  Key to this is understanding the local landscape type, the sensitivities and habitats in the area.   This guidance is designed to summarise the different landscape character types, the actions that can be taken for nature or to be more nature friendly and the key sensitivities to consider in the area.

To find out the landscape character types in your area here.

Landscape Character Type and Key habitats Actions for nature Nature friendly actions Key Sensitivities in this landscape type.

Open downland

Unimproved lowland calcareous grassland.

Chalk Heath.

Scrub mosaic.

Deciduous woodland (as part of a wider mosaic).

Management of existing core chalk grassland sites to achieve good condition.

Expand existing sites and create buffer zones.

Reconnect chalk grassland and chalk heath sites to create species corridors.

Deciduous woodland planting but only where appropriate in the landscape and not detrimental to the expansion of calcareous grasslands.

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Restore or create dew ponds.

Replant hedgerows.

Create arable margins and pollinator species corridors.

Maintain winter cover, feed crops or stubbles.

Open uninterrupted skylines.

Iconic views.

Sense of tranquillity and remoteness.

Unimproved chalk grassland and chalk heath.

Farmland mosaics of arable and pasture that support farmland bird species.

Wooded estate downland.

Extensive broad leaved woodland including areas of ancient woodland.

Yew woodland.

Lowland calcareous grassland.

Network of hedgerows.

Seek to plant broadleaved woodland with suitable species and to replace conifers where appropriate when felling takes place.

Manage and protect the rare yew woodlands.

Manage woodland to achieve good condition, age and species diversity.

Manage chalk grassland areas and seek to expand and connect.

Manage hedgerows and plant to complete the network.

 

 

Buffer strips along hedgerows and woodland edges.

Restore and create ponds.

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Create arable margins and pollinator species corridors.

Maintain winter cover, feed crops or stubbles.

Large areas of ancient woodland.  Ancient yew forests.   Chalk grassland with scrub including nationally scarce juniper.

Intact hedgerow network.

Clay plateau Deciduous woodland including coppice.

Hedgerow network

Pockets of lowland calcareous grassland

Manage woodland to achieve good condition, age and species diversity.

Seek to plant new broadleaved woodlands.

Manage hedgerows and plant to complete the network.

Manage chalk grassland areas and seek to expand and connect. (Colemore)

 

Buffer strips along hedgerows and woodland edges.

Restore and create ponds.

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Manage and expand wood pasture and parkland habitats.

Deciduous woodlands and intact hedgerow network with hedgerow trees.  Historic parklands

Downland Mosaic

Deciduous woodlands, lowland calcareous grassland

Network of hedgerows.

Juniper scrub

Manage woodland to achieve good condition, age and species diversity.

Seek to plant new broadleaved woodlands with suitable species and improve woodland connectivity.

Manage hedgerows and plant to complete the network.

Manage chalk grassland areas and seek to expand and connect.

Mange and expand areas of juniper scrub.

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Create buffer strips along hedgerows and woodland edges.

Increase diversity of arable farmland by Creating arable margins and pollinator species corridors.

Maintain winter cover, feed crops or stubbles and areas of fallow land.

Prominent skyline of open ridge.  Chalk grassland. Hangar woodland and scrub mosaic. Deciduous woodland and strong hedgerow network.

Chalk Valley systems

Chalk rivers, streams and winterbournes. floodplain meadows, lowland fens wet woodland.

Small areas of calcareous grassland and woodland on upper slopes.

 

Improve the natural morphology of rivers and maintain good water quality.

Create wetland habitats along ditches, rivers and streams to improve connectivity and flood storage (working with natural processes).

Create a 10 metre habitat buffer zone on either side of rivers and streams.

Manage wet woodlands and plant additional areas with suitable species.

Manage broadleaved woodlands to achieve good condition, age and species diversity. Improve woodland connectivity.

Manage and expand areas of chalk grassland.

 

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Create wildflower meadows.

Create buffer strips along water courses, hedgerows and woodland edges.

Restore and create ponds.

Monitor and control invasive non-native species.

Calcareous grassland on the valley sides.

Chalk rivers and associated springs, meanders riffle and pools.

Floodplain meadows and areas of wet woodland.

Major chalk River Floodplains

Floodplain grazing marsh, water meadows, reed beds, wet woodland, saltmarsh and intertidal mudflats.

Naturalisation and restoration of floodplains through improving the natural morphology and working with natural processes to accommodate flood storage. .  Conserve, expand and connect extensive areas of grazing marshes and the associated freshwater ditch systems.

Conserve and expand other wetland habitats such as reed beds, wet woodland.

Mange natural coastal processes to recreate intertidal habitats such as saltmarsh and intertidal mudflats and transitional areas.

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands and other grasslands along the river corridors.

Create wildflower meadows.

Create a 10 metre habitat buffer zone on either side of rivers.

Create buffer strips along water courses, hedgerows and woodland edges.

Restore and create ponds.

Monitor and control invasive non-native species.

Flat open valley floors.  Meandering channels.  Floodplain meadows, trees, ponds and other wetland habitats.

Major chalk valley sides

Semi natural deciduous woodland.  Lowland Calcareous grassland, Elm.

 

Actively manage areas of calcareous grassland and seek opportunities to enlarge and connect areas of Calcareous grassland.

Manage broad leaved woodland to increase age and species diversity.   Seek opportunities to enlarge and connect woodlands using appropriate species.

Monitor, manage and enhance the elm population

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands and other grasslands along the river corridors.

Create wildflower meadows.

Create arable margins and pollinator species corridors.

Maintain winter cover, feed crops or stubbles.

Create buffer strips along hedgerows and woodland edges.

Restore and create ponds.

 

Steep valley sides, in some areas cliffs.  An upper slope of chalk grassland and lower slope of woodland and hedgerows.

Wealden River Floodplains.

Floodplain grazing marsh and ditch systems.  Lowland fens wet woodland.

Maintain floodplain habitats. Restore floodplains, create wet woodland, reedbeds and wetland features.

Manage lowland fens.

Plant bank side trees.

Create riverside corridors of natural habitat as a buffer to other land uses.

Increase species diversity in semi improved and improved grasslands.

Restore and create ponds.

Monitor and control invasive non-native species.

Flat open character.  Meandering channels and network of tributaries.  Floodplain meadows, bankside trees and other wetland habitats.

Major scarps

Almost unbroken tracts of Calcareous grassland, scrub and broad leaved woodland including hanger woodlands

Protect, manage, extend and link areas of chalk grassland.   Manage broad leaved woodlands and hanger woodlands for species and age diversity and resilience.   Seek opportunities to enlarge and connect woodlands using appropriate species.

Maintain balance of grassland to woodland and transition zones.

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Create wildflower meadows.

Create arable margins and pollinator species corridors.

Maintain winter cover, feed crops or stubbles.

Create buffer strips to chalk grassland areas and woodland edges.

Restore and create dew ponds.

 

Steep prominent scarp slopes large swathes of open chalk grassland with areas of hangar woodland and scrub.

Scarp Foot slopes

Broad leaved woodlands and hedgerows.  Small areas of calcareous grassland Occasional wetland habitats, small streams, ponds.

Manage broad leaved woodlands for species and age diversity and resilience.   Seek opportunities to enlarge and connect woodlands using appropriate species.

Manage hedgerows and hedgerow trees and plant to complete the network and connectivity to woodland

Seek opportunities to extend calcareous grassland onto lower slopes of scarp and provide buffer.

Manage and naturalise wetland habitats.

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Create wildflower meadows.

Create arable margins and pollinator species corridors.

Maintain winter cover, feed crops or stubbles.

Create buffer strips to chalk grassland areas, hedgerows and woodland edges.

Restore and create ponds.

 

Undulating topography with small fields bounded by intact hedgerow network and woodlands.

Greensand terrace

Extensive Broad leaved woodlands including Hanger woodlands.  Small pockets of grasslands, lowland meadows.  Network of hedgerows

Manage broad leaved woodlands for species and age diversity and resilience.   Seek opportunities to enlarge and connect woodlands using appropriate species.

Manage hedgerows and hedgerow trees and plant to complete the network and connectivity to woodland

Manage existing species rich grassland and create further areas.

Create arable margins and pollinator species corridors.

Maintain winter cover, feed crops or stubbles.

Create buffer strips to chalk grassland areas, hedgerows and woodland edges.

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Create wildflower meadows.

Create streamside corridors of natural habitat as a buffer to other land uses.

Monitor and control invasive non-native species.

 

Prominent view of greensand scarp. Ravine like streams.

Ancient hangar woodlands connected by thick hedgerows.

Open semi-natural grasslands.

Sunken lanes.

Mixed farmland and woodland vales

Areas of Broad leaved woodland.  Thick intact network of hedgerows.  Pockets of acid and unimproved semi-natural grasslands.

Manage broad leaved woodland for species and age diversity and resilience.  Seek to make connections between woodland blocks.  Conserve and manage hedgerows.

Maintain the habitat mosaic especially unimproved grasslands.  Seek to increase the area of unimproved grasslands and connect areas of habitat

Create arable margins and pollinator species corridors.

Maintain winter cover, feed crops or stubbles.

Create buffer strips to chalk grassland areas, hedgerows and woodland edges.

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Create wildflower meadows.

Create streamside corridors of natural habitat as a buffer to other land uses.

Monitor and control invasive non-native species.

Unimproved grasslands, woodlands and thick hedgerows with trees.

Historic parklands

Wealden farmland and Heath Mosaic

Heathland, acid grassland, birch oak woodland.  Occasional acid bog

Bring heathland into good management.

Enhance connectivity of heathland habitats including the mosaic of heath, acid grassland, birch/oak woodland Seek to plant broadleaved woodland with suitable species and to replace conifers where appropriate when felling takes place.

Seek to make connections between woodland blocks with suitable species.

Create arable margins and pollinator species corridors.

Maintain winter cover, feed crops or stubbles.

Create buffer strips to Heathland acid grassland areas, hedgerows and woodland edges.

Monitor and control invasive non-native species.

Mix of heathland, oak/birch woodland and acid grasslands.

Unenclosed commons.

Valley farmland

Occasional blocks of woodland and some hedgerows.   Small river tributaries of the Rother, wet meadows, marshes and wet woodland.

Conserve and manage hedgerows and replant to restore hedgerow network, improve connectivity.

Manage woodlands to increase species and age diversity and seek opportunities to extend.

Maintain floodplain habitats. Restore floodplains, create wet woodland, reedbeds and wetland features.

 

Create arable margins and pollinator species corridors.

Maintain winter cover, feed crops or stubbles.

Interventions such as silt traps, margins and attenuation ponds to reduce soil run off.

Create buffer strips to water courses, hedgerows and woodland edges.

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Create wildflower meadows.

Monitor and control invasive non-native species.

Neat hedgerows with oaks trees.

Remnant woodlands and commons.

Openness of landscape due to low proportion of woodland cover.

Greensand hills

Extensive ancient woodlands, acid grassland, remnant open heath and wet heath. 

Heathland restoration and opportunities to improve connectivity with additional heathland creation.

Maintain ancient woodland and manage for age and species diversity.

Conserve and manage hedgerows and replant to restore hedgerow network, improve connectivity.

 

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Create wildflower meadows.

Monitor and control invasive non-native species.

Large areas of ancient deciduous woodland.  Remnant heathlands, thick hedgerow boundaries.   Enclosed.

Low weald

Well wooded agricultural landscape, well-developed hedgerows.   Ponds and streams. 

Conserve and manage hedgerows and replant to restore hedgerow network, improve connectivity.

Manage woodlands and wood pasture to increase species and age diversity and seek opportunities to extend and connect.

 

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Create wildflower meadows.

Conserve, Restore and create ponds and hammer ponds.

Monitor and control invasive non-native species.

Create arable margins and pollinator species corridors.

Maintain winter cover, feed crops or stubbles.

Create buffer strips to water courses, hedgerows and woodland edges.

 

Irregular mosaic of fields, hedges, ancient woodlands and wood pasture.  Strong hedgerow network.

Streams and ponds including larger historic hammer ponds.

Wooded claylands

Deciduous woodlands. Small areas of lowland heath.  Hedgerows.

Maintain ancient woodland and manage for age and species diversity. Restore broad leaved woodland where it has been planted with conifers, using suitable native species.  Look at connectivity.

Heathland restoration and opportunities to improve connectivity, assess potential for creating new, interconnected heaths within the woodland mosaic.

Restore hedgerows

Monitor and control invasive non-native species.

Large areas of ancient woodland.  Deer parks.

Remnant areas of heathland.

Upper coastal plain

Deciduous woodland blocks, good network of hedgerows, ponds and streams.

 

Restore Chalk grassland at Highdown hill and continue to manage.

Maintain woodland and manage for age and species diversity.

Restore plantation woodland to broad leaved woods.

Conserve and manage hedgerows and replant to restore hedgerow network, improve connectivity.

Increase species diversity of semi improved grasslands.

Create wildflower meadows.

Create arable margins and pollinator species corridors.

Maintain winter cover, feed crops or stubbles.

Create buffer strips to water courses, hedgerows and woodland edges.

Restore and create ponds

Restore disused gravel workings to grasslands, scrub, wetland and woodland habitats.

Wetland habitats, springs and streams.

Strong network of hedgerows and small woods.

Historic parklands.

Shoreline

Maritime cliffs, vegetated shingle

Maintain natural functioning shorelines.

Work with natural processes

Protect vegetated shingle habitats from damage and invasive species.

Shingle beaches and chalk cliffs exposed to natural processes and connecting to marine habitats such as chalk reef.   Vegetated shingle.

Geological interest.

Settlements in the National Park all fall within LCAs so refer to your local character type. These notes relate to additional nature recovery  actions that can be undertaken in  an  urban context Connecting to wider habitats in your area such as heathland, woodland or species rich grasslands.

Bird and bat boxes.

Garden networks.

Create rain gardens.

Restore or create ponds.

Increase the species diversity of amenity grasslands,

Plant wildflower meadows or areas for pollinators.

Plant hedgerows and trees in appropriate locations.

Enhance the species diversity of road verges.

Create wildlife corridors and links to the wider countryside.

 

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" The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness. "