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From issue:   Issue:   British Wildlife 27.1 October 2015

Sheep grazing and the management of chalk grassland

By - Peter Hawes

A unique investigation at the chalkdownland National Nature Reserve Aston Rowant (SU 727972) could help to illuminate best practice in management for other reserves in southern Britain. The study, which was partly repeated after 45 years, considered the effects of sheep grazing regimes in order to explain ecological differences brought about by variations within livestock densities and seasonal movements.

The Aston Rowant reserve is situated at the borders of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, on the western scarp of the Chiltern Hills AONB, and conserves chalk grassland, scrub and, notably, Juniper Juniperus communis and Beech Fagus sylvatica woodland. Declared in 1958, the reserve was centred on Beacon Hill and covered about 28 hectares. Today, it encompasses 159 hectares. 

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"British Wildlife is the pulsating heart of the UK nature conservation movement."

Matthew Oates, National Trust

"The most important and informative publication on wildlife of our times"

Michael McCarthy, The Independent

"Packed with readable, thoughtful, up to date articles; written by ecologists and naturalists for ecologists and naturalists"

Nick Baker, Presenter and Naturalist