Rectory Farm chalk grassland restoration trial

Rectory Farm chalk grassland restoration trial

This project in Streatley will introduce local native wild flowers to over nearly 86 hectares of grassland that have been identified by Natural England as suitable for improvement. Rectory Farm has both donor sites (which will provide the seed) as well as the restoration site itself.

In this trial the seed donor sites will not be grazed after 15 May in order to allow the harvesting of wild flower seed heads. Once the target species have set seed and are considered ripe for harvesting, they will be harvested with a fore-end mounted brush seed harvester, mounted on a tractor suited for use on very steep slopes. Seed is dropped from the harvester and then dried inside a barn by spreading it out, with regular turning. The seed will be pre cleaned using a pre cleaner. Once dry it is bagged up and stored until sowing.

The seed recipient area will be grazed hard with sheep and will then have a grassland rejuvenator machine used on it, which aerates, sows the seeds and then harrows in one pass. The sheep will then be allowed back on the grassland again for a short period of time, in order to help trample the seeds further into the ground, before being removed to allow the seeds to germinate.

We plan to monitor this trial area with botanical surveys at different points in the project, and to share the learning from this trial project with other landowners. The monitoring work will be complemented by a range of education and communication tools about chalk grassland plants.

The Rectory Farm site is visible from the Ridgeway National Trail and local footpaths, and walkers will be able to enjoy views of the restored grassland. Through funding from the Countryside Stewardship payments scheme local schools and care homes will also be able to arrange visits with the landowner to this site.

If you would like to know more about this project please contact the Mend the Gap Programme team at

Chilterns ANOB

Rectory Road Streatley