N3

Limestone Pavement Flora

Limestone pavements are striking geological features of the Stories in Stone area. Limestone pavements were formed under a soil and woodland cover and have been exposed principally through forest clearance and agricultural management over many hundreds of years. They support a diverse flora with many rare and uncommon species and are a Priority Biodiversity Action Plan habitat.

What’s the problem?

Intensive grazing has reduced the natural regeneration of trees and shrubs and has prevented flora from flourishing. Fencing off areas to exclude sheep and to enable the natural regeneration of trees and shrubs, together with small-scale low-density tree and shrub planting on grassland areas, provides more favourable conditions for the regeneration of vegetation (trees, scrub and grike flora) on the pavements.

Where is this going to happen?

Two sites had been identified for work but a fungal survey revealed the presence of a nationally rare fungi which would be adversely affected if grazing was discontinued, and so we are working with Natural England to identify new sites that would benefit from the work.

Benefits

As well as the obvious wildlife benefits, the project will increase the understanding and enjoyment of limestone pavement among local people and visitors. Natural England will use the project to talk about landscape change, habitat enhancement and biodiversity gain with visiting schools, guided walks and specialist groups.

Partners

Natural England is leading on this project and will be working closely with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and tenant farmers.

Get in touch

If you’d like to find out more about this project, please contact Chris Lodge, Stories in Stone Project Officer.