We are delighted to be able to facilitate the Sussex Wildlife Trust’s sheep to visit the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven to help maintain the habitat restoration here.
Chalk Grass Downland is one of the most biodiverse, but also one of the rarest semi-natural habitats in the UK. It is the result of forest clearing as far back as Neolithic and Bronze Age times and then being grazed by sheep for centuries, it is possible to find 30-40 different species of plants in just one square metre. As a consequence it is also home to vast array of butterflies and other invertebrates.
If the land is not grazed the taller grasses will crowd out wildflower species such as Kidney Vetch Anthyllis vulneraria and Horsehoe Vetch Hippocrepis comosa which are the sole foodplants for the caterpillars of the colonising species Small Blue Cupido minimus and Adonis Blue Polyommatus bellargus respectively.
So having the sheep here is helping the biodiversity; maintaining a habitat that supports possibly the largest colony of Small Blues in the country. 81% of all the butterfly species found in Brighton & Hove have been recorded at this site. This is an example of how, given a chance, nature can be restored and wildlife can flourish.