Lowland Dry Acid Grassland

Lowland Dry Acid Grassland

What are they?
They typically occur on nutrient-poor, generally free-draining soils with pH ranging from 4 to 5.5 overlying acid rocks or superficial deposits such as sands and gravels.

How they are traditionally managed
They are normally managed as pastures.

Distribution in Bedfordshire

Acid grasslands occur mainly along the Greensand Ridge which runs from Leighton Buzzard diagonally across the county to Gamlingay.

The county’s acid grassland sites occur in three main clusters:

  • A large number of sites around the Brickhills and Woburn area
  • Ampthill and Maulden
  • Around Sandy and Gamlingay

In south Bedfordshire, small areas of acid grassland occur on clay-with-flints which cap the chalk and can be found in conjunction with other calcareous grasslands.

Distribution in Cambridgeshire

Acid grassland is rare in Cambridgeshire, the two main areas occurring at opposite sides of the county; one forming the Gamlingay end of Bedfordshire’s Greensand Ridge and the second to the east of Newmarket.

Distribution in Northamptonshire

This habitat is found in association with the Northamptonshire sand and ironstone geology, found to the west of Northampton and South of Daventry. Few areas of acid grassland habitat remain, but those which do are found in LWS and SSSIs. Good examples include the WT reserve High Wood and Meadow and Borough Hill County Park on the outskirts of Daventry.

Species associated with them
Just by spending a few minutes looking at your grassland, you will notice that it is composed of grasses and herbs of different shapes, sizes and colours. The presence of these species will give you an indication of the type of grassland you have.

  • Flora associations

Common bent, heath bedstraw, spring beauty, tormentil, sheep sorrel, gorse and heath milkwort.

If you would like to see pictures of some of the species listed above, please click here.

Fauna associations

Ground beetles, solitary bees and wasps, field crickets, woodlark, lapwing and stone-curlew.

Examples available to visit

Cooper’s Hill in Ampthill – mixture of acid grassland and heathland. 

Gamlingay Cinques and Meadow near Gamlingay.


High Wood and Meadows – near Farthingstone.

For more information
View lowland dry acid grassland Biodiversity Action Plan for Bedfordshire

View lowland dry acid grassland Biodiversity Action Plan for Northamptonshire

Help available
If you think that you may have some of the plant species listed above in your grassland then you could receive a free site visit from a Wildlife Sites Officer.  Or if you would like more information about lowland dry acid grasslands, please contact: Bedfordshire – Laura Downton: Email. 
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Tel. 01234 364213.  Cambridgeshire: Jessica Hatchett: Email.
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Tel. 01954 713500. Northamptonshire – Matt Johnson: Email. 
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Tel. 01604 774033

here are some opportunities for getting funding

Chloe Granger

Admin at Cut & Chew
The admin of the Cut and Chew website, and activist for improving the UK grazing landscape.

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