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Merodon equestris
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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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Belton Hills, TQ830859

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Status: Local Wildlife Site (CWS/SINC)
Local Nature Reserve
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Summary: Important surviving south-facing scarp with landslip characteristics.

Description: In the past extensive areas of scrub developed on areas of former open grassland, and efforts have been made to manage these to return to open habitats.

It is essential from an invertebrate point of view that grasslands at the LNR are not managed using any form of intensive cutting, unless this could be achieved over a long coppice-like rotation. Evidence from aerial google aerial images suggests that cutting in recent years has been far too extensive over the LNR. There needs to be a continuity of flower, vegetative and other herbaceous resources required by the many invertebrate species dependent on them, as well as an element of disturbance to maintain areas of bare and sparsely vegetated ground. This is not achieved by a regime of cutting.

Reason for interest: The site supports some important plants such as Deptford Pink Dianthus armeria, Bithynian Vetch Vicia bithynica and a rich invertebrate fauna. Invertebrate survey in 2001 recorded 667 taxa, including species rare and scarce in a national and regional context. A number of species are present where Belton Hills LNR represents the only known site for these species in Essex.

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Images

Deptford Pink at Belton Hills
Deptford Pink at Belton Hills
Spiny Rest-harrow at Belton Hills
Spiny Rest-harrow at Belton Hills
Unmown grassland in 2001
Unmown grassland in 2001
south-east scarp in 2001
south-east scarp in 2001
Scarp in 2001
Scarp in 2001

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page last edited on Fri Apr 19th 2013 by site user 3

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