Chapel Bank Nature Reserve, Croydon

Chapel Bank Nature Reserve in South London, owned and maintained by London Wildlife Trust, is well known for its stunning displays of orchids and wildflowers. However, encroaching scrub was threatening to invade the delicate chalk grassland habitat. Over the whole reserve, coverage of scrub was approaching 35% where optimum levels are between 5-10%.

In September 2018, Valencia Communities Fund awarded London Wildlife Trust £14,088 so that the scrub that was competing with the wildflowers could be manually removed. Semi-mature scrub clusters of hawthorn, blackthorn, ash and dogwood have been targeted and regrowth has been treated with selective herbicide. Scrapes have been created in areas where there was a large proportion of scrub. Excavation down to the bare chalk has also taken place in order to create habitat to ensure that chalk pioneer plant species are able to colonise. The excavated materials will then be piled up on the south facing side of the new scrapes to create banks for invertebrates to bask upon.