AUTUMN is one of the best times of the year to appreciate the glorious ‘jewels’ of the Chilterns, the woodlands and valleys that make our countryside so special.
The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) already looks after several of these precious sites including Chinnor Hill, Oakley Hill and Windsor Hill.
Last week, BBOWT launched an appeal to raise £150,000 to buy and save Yoesden, a woodland and chalk grassland site near Radnage.
The beautiful swathe of grassland is renowned for its variety of wild flowers, butterflies and moths.
Above this the ‘hanger’ woodland of beech, yew and whitebeam trees clothes the steep hillside that overlooks Radnage Valley.
Estelle Bailey, chief executive of BBOWT, is leading the appeal.
She said: “Yoesden is wonderful jewel in the Chilterns. When I visited the site in the summer I was delighted to see so many varieties of butterflies, including the fabulous Adonis blue, fluttering up from the pink and purple flowers of wild thyme and marjoram.
“The sounds of crickets and grasshoppers and the scent of wild herbs were amazing, and the views from the top of the bank looking across Radnage Valley are stunning. BBOWT has the opportunity now to protect this precious site for everyone to enjoy, and to look after it so that more wildlife can thrive here.”
There will be guided walks, workshops and events, work parties to help control the scrub and detailed surveying of the grassland to ensure it is kept in the best condition for flowers and herbs that provide essential food and shelter for butterflies and other insects.
The distinctive character of chalk grassland in the Chilterns is of national importance. 80 per cent of the UK’s chalk grassland has been destroyed since the 1950s, which means the grassland bank at Yoesden is a valuable site to treasure.
There are several public footpaths including the Chilterns Way, permissive paths and a bridleway through Yoesden, which make attractive circular walks between Radnage and Bledlow Ridge.
Go to www.bbowt.org.uk/yoesden to see photos and videos of this beautiful site, and click on the Adonis blue butterfly to give to the Yoesden Bank Appeal.