Resources for Change are the lifetime evaluators for the Old Chalk New Downs project, for Kent County Council. This Heritage Fund supported project covers almost 10,000 hectares along the North Downs from Kemsing to Detling in Kent. The project is restoring and reconnecting remaining fragments of precious chalk downland for the benefit of the rare species and people who love them.
The conservation work includes clearing areas of former chalk downland of scrub so that the wildflowers have a chance to come through. Sustaining the work in the longer term will require volunteers and conservation grazing e.g., with goats, as well as cattle. Water features have also been reintroduced and landowners are being engaged to co-create land management plans to help with Stewardship Scheme applications. Planting hedgerows has also been a strong feature of the project so far as one way of improving the connections between important habitat areas.
So far, R4C has completed the interim evaluation and we are currently developing the Legacy Plan. As well as building the capacity of the partnership to carry out monitoring work, R4C is supporting the project and partner organisations through learning workshops. The final evaluation will be completed later in 2022.
You can find our more about the project on the Old Chalk New Downs website.