A threatened habitat
The nature reserve at Clennon Gorge covers around 60 acres of woodland and limestone grassland, and is home to a wide range of plants and animals.
Limestone grasslands are one of the UK’s most threatened habitats and provide a home for a diverse array of insects and plants. In the past, these areas were grazed by rabbits and livestock, although nowadays we use mechanical cutting to maintain the grassland.
The limestone grassland is important because the limestone bedrock changes the qualities of the thin soil above, which in turn affects the range of plants that can grow there. In turn, a number of insect species are reliant on these plants, and on this habitat.
Shaping the landscape
Limestone has been used for a range of purposes throughout history, in everything from paint and toothpaste to building materials. While quarrying in this location ceased in the 19th century, the remains of former quarries, impressive rock faces and stone kilns can still be seen today.
As with many limestone outcrops, the limestone grassland at Clennon Gorge is neighboured by trees. This ancient woodland was first planted to provide fuel for the lime kilns and has been in existence since the 1600s.