Funding Nemo Down
- Credit: Archant
Ecologically, historically and culturally the chalk grasslands of Dover are of world renown but help is needed to restore and secure their future
Nemo Down encompasses 40 hectares of ancient chalk grassland and ancient woodland - abandoned and forgotten decades ago with the loss of many flowers and animals, most notably chalk orchids and butterflies. The purchase of this site provides a rare opportunity for the Trust.
Chalk grassland is extremely rare and of global importance. Half of the world’s old chalk grassland is found in the UK with five per cent surviving in Kent. The enemy of chalk grassland, and nature in general, is habitat destruction, reducing a rich landscape to fragments. Nemo Down is of great strategic importance within Kent Wildlife Trust’s landscape-scale vision for Dover. It will sit at the heart of a biodiversity ‘hotspot’ for grassland and woodland.
Once restored, it will provide vital habitat for a range of species, plants such as squinancywort and rock rose; butterflies including Adonis blue and silver-spotted skipper; birds such as red kite and cuckoo; and a host of mammals.
Once purchased, intensive work will be needed to restore this landscape. Scrub clearance, the re-establishment of grazing and a coppicing programme to manage the woodland will be introduced.
Measures will also be needed to protect the site from fly tipping and squatters and a team of volunteers will be recruited and trained to help manage the site and look after the livestock.
A proportion of the funding that is required to establish Nemo Down as a nature reserve has already been secured from WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Limited), but we cannot save and restore the site without help.
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For every £1 donated, £10 will be released as match funding to save Nemo Down.
Our dedicated reserves team has the expertise and a track record of success in restoring sites of this kind. Their work will also be supported by a strong and growing team of East Kent volunteers who will be heavily involved in the restoration work.
In 20 years, your support will have increased the quantity and quality of chalk grassland and woodland habitat in the Dover area. Rare species will have become established; and the landscape enhanced and protected for generations to enjoy. n