The total area of this BOA is 2466ha, 194ha of which are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and only 34ha are Local Wildlife Sites. The western section of the escarpment running from Letcombe to the county boundary, divided into two core sections that correspond to the areas identified in the AONB Chalk Grassland report. These sections have the main areas of chalk grassland and significant archaeological features such as Uffington White Horse and Castle, Wayland Smithy and Segsbury Camp. The area extends south of the most steeply sloping escarpment to the Ridgeway. It also includes slopes along hills running south into Berkshire, in the vicinity of Seven Barrows, and land including Kingston Down and Ashdown Park. Besides the further areas of chalk grassland this section is rich in archaeological features.
Joint Character Area: Berkshire and Marlborough Downs.
Landscape Types: Chalk Downland Slopes.
Geology and geomorphology: Chalk with a number of coombes.
Topography: A north and north west facing escarpment and east and west facing steep banks in the southern area.
Chalk grassland: Extensive areas of chalk grassland at White Horse Hill and Hackpen Hill. The main site in Berkshire is at Seven Barrows while there are remnants in some other locations.
Woodland: The main sites are near Uffington, within the SSSI and at Ashdown Park. There are a few plantations.
Parkland: Ashdown Park has some good veteran trees and includes an SSSI for the lichen flora on sarsen stones.
Species: the arable land supports a good flora and the area is good for farmland birds. Stone curlew have been recorded in this area.
Geodiversity: there are a number of sites with sarsen stones including Ashdown Park and Parkfarm Down. Uffington Hill has important geomorpholoical features associated with the coombes.
Access: Open access at Whitehorse Hill. A number of areas are included in Countryside and Rights Of Way Act. The Ridgeway and other bridleways. There is also some access on National Trust land at Ashdown Park.
Targets and opportunities: Chalk grassland management and restoration. Protection of archaeological and geological features. Management for arable wildflowers and farmland birds. Veteran tree and woodland management at Ashdown Park.
If you would like to get involved with projects in this BOA please contact us for current opportunities.