ZSL Whipsnade Grasslands

In 2008 we were invited to write a condition report on the state of the SSSI at Whipsnade for ZSL.

Priority infrastructure work was carried out to regulate grazing, begin a programme of appropriate weed treatment and to work on a management plan. In 2010 we produced a five year plan for the society to bring the site into recovery with the long term aim of favourable status. Work has been intense with the introduction of a new flock of sheep, regulated grazing zones and a thorough programme to reduce ragwort levels to a minimum.

Recovery status was achieved after two years and favourable after four. The site has seen the return of five species of orchid, a number of rare chalk downland species and now supports over half the native species of butterfly.

The site also has an adjacent area of land where we have overseen the restoration into rich chalk grassland from inert waste fill.

Throughout we have worked closely with ZSL staff to build their capacity to conserve the area and take management decisions. We continue to provide specialist inputs and practical services.