I am a first year DPhil student funded by Mr and Mrs J A Pye's Charitable Settlement, working under the supervision of Dr Lindsay Turnbull and Dr Keith Kirby. My research is investigating the value of the Ridgeway National Trail for conserving the biodiversity associated with chalk grassland.
The Ridgeway National Trail is an ancient trail that stretches 87 miles through the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Chilterns AONB, areas that historically had large expanses of chalk grassland. Today the extent of this grassland has been greatly reduced and the remaining patches in these AONBs are mostly small and isolated. Due to the large area of grassland habitat present within the boundaries of The Ridgeway and the distance that the trail spans, there is potential to increase the area of well managed chalk grassland present and also enhance the connectivity of grassland communities within these AONBs. Through a combination of modelling, observational and experimental approaches my prject aims to: i) Assess the current value of The Ridgeway National Trail for conserving the biodiversity associalted with chalk grassland; and ii) Investigate management methods that could be used to increase the levels of chalk grassland biodiversity along the Ridgeway.
Dr Lindsay Turnbull