Thanks to generous funding from the Chapman Trust, we have been able to carry out soil scrapes on the Common to restore our acid grassland on Mill Hill.
Lowland Acid Grassland (LAG) is a nationally scarce habitat which exists on dry, acidic, sandy soil and can support many species of plants and invertebrates.
Nutrient build up caused by dog fouling, pollution and a lack of grazing leads to a change in the pH of the soil which means that the plant assemblages associated with acidic soils can no longer survive and are outcompeted by other more common species.
Soil scraping removes the top layer of nutrient rich soil to expose the sandy soil underneath. With our nearby areas of acid grassland providing a seed stock, the scrape should be restored to its former biodiverse beauty!
As part of our soil scrape project, we decided to build a new Hibernaculum.
A Hibernaculum is a shelter for reptiles and amphibians made by covering logs and stones with soil. This creates small cracks and crevices in which cold blooded species can keep warm during their hibernation in the cold winter months (October-March).
After spotting a Common Lizard last year on Mill Hill, we decided we had to build one! Plus it was a good use of excess soil from our scrape!
We also drilled some holes into the faces of the logs. These holes ranged in diameter from 2-12mm and were made to encourage solitary bees and other insects to nest inside.