We had a lovely morning on 16th March in the sunshine on our sunday workday scraping up sheep poo to keep the nutrient levels low for the chalk grassland flowers. Over the last month there have been 150 sheep grazing the slopes and they have done a great job of eating the grass and nibbling around the ant hills. The area called Hogtrough is looking very good because of all their grass eating. The ant hills often have creeping thyme growing on them so when they are in flower later in the year they look like purple cushions and bees like the thyme flowers. On our workday we saw several small tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies and also found some tiny orange and black beetles under the sheep poo which we think are the dung beetle Aphodius fimetarius. Skylarks were singing, there were tiny early violets just showing in the grass and it was great to be out there. At the end of the morning we had a good collection of bags of sheep poo to take down the hill to the Bevendean Community Garden because they want to increase the nutrient levels in the garden for their vegetable growing.



Sheep pooBrig Sheep poo

Portslade Green Gym volunteers did a splendid job clearing bramble and small hawthorn scrub from a section of the sheep enclosure. We were very lucky to have a gloriously sunny morning.

The sheep will be coming to graze the area in February so there will be less bramble for them to get caught up in, and they will be able to nibble down the coarse grasses to help improve the diversity of the site.Starting Work Job Finished

A day which started with damp and mist and a forecast of rain by lunchtime did not seem very promising for our annual celebratory bonfire but after a flurry of phone calls we decided to go ahead. The weather did as promised and rained but we still managed to have a good time. The bonfire roared beautifully despite the soggyness and kept us all warm and cheerful and people had bought lovely food to share and the hiss of the rain in the frying pan with the sausages all added to the atmosphere. We were all pretty wet by the time the food was cooked and eaten but it was a pleasure to spend time with the sixteen or so people who could come out today. We all love this bit of chalk grassland and work in different ways through the seasons to try and ensure that it will stay rich in wildlife, both for it’s own sake and for the pleasure it gives to the many people who spend time in it.GroupReady to put out fireEatingGroup aPotatoes and sausagesPutting out fireFire out

6 spots on scabiousChalhill on Round headed rampionChalkhills on Carline ThistleIn July and August butterflies and flowers are at their most numerous on the downs. Chalkhill and Common Blue butterflies and the delicate Small Scabious and Round headed rampion flowers amonst many others insects and flowers.Small ScabiousPloughmans spikenard


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