The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

New Life for Chalk Grassland

Wiltshire is home to 50% of the UK's and roughly 40% of the World's Chalk Downland - the grassland equivalent to tropical rainforest because of its incredible density of flower and insect life. Historical losses in the last 50 years are around 50% mainly due to agricultural intensification. This threat has increased with high wheat prices and the decline in sheep farming. It is time to act to save this wonderful habitat.

preview Campaign preview

Registered Charity in England and Wales (266202)


Amount raised





  • AnimalsAnimals
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Environment/ConservationEnvironment/Conservation


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther



Chalk grassland is important for many reasons, not just for its fantastic variety of flowers, insects and butterlies. For example, it is estimated that by converting just 1% of land under intensive crops back to grassland we could halt climate change - its power to lock up carbon is greater even than that of forests. In addition livestock reared on grassland as opposed to that housed in sheds and fed on grain produces meat and dairy products high in essential fatty acids and other nutrients - through changing our diet back to one based on naturally reared products a whole range of modern diseases including cancers, heart disease and asthma can be stopped in their tracks. This projects aims to trial new conservation techniques for chalk grassland and to encourage farmers and landowners to take them up. They include the use of easy-care sheep, small-breed cattle and mechanical cutting. If we can proove that these new techniques are profitable then we can put a stop to the senseless ploughing up of this wonderful, healthy habitat. The costs for the project include the creation of a new farming enterprise at our existing SSSI nature reserve at Coombe Bissett, new steep slope cutting machinery, livestock including Herdwick Sheep and Dexter Cattle, farm vehicle and staff costs.