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SSSI unit information
 
Box Farm Meadows - Unit 1
 

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Staff member responsible for SSSI unit: Paul Hackman
 
Unit ID: 1013180
 
Unit area: 8 hectares
 
Main habitat: Calcareous grassland - lowland
 
Condition:   Favourable
 
Latest assessment date: 07 July 2011
 
Condition assessment comment: The SSSI is notified for its CG3 grassland and meadow clary (Schedule 8 plant). It is an unusual limestone grassland site in that most of the site is species-poor with patches that are species-rich. The sward is generally long and on the neutral side of calcareous (probably due to the thicker soils) which gives rise to the unusual mix of species (see form). Only the species-rich patches were assessed (see map). The extent of species-rich grassland was similar to the last assessment (in 2005) and may have expanded. The positive indicators (Freq. 5, Occasional 6), herb ratio (50%), scrub (<5%), litter (<5%), bare ground (5%) were all favourable and an improvement on the last assessment. Negative indicators were still borderline at 5% due to occasional ragwort and thistle species and sward height was also borderline at around 15 cm. Meadow clary was present on site in good numbers with previous (Plantlife 2010) surveys showing both mature (316 clumps/adults) and in-mature (91 seedlings) present. It seems that the change in management has benefitted both the aging meadow clary population and the richness of the limestone grassland more generally. Management recommendations: The experimental grazing regime (year round grazing followed by occasional years where the species-rich grassland/meadow clary areas are protected to allow flowering and seeding) should be continued. Weed species (ragwort and thistles) need to be monitored and tackled over the next few years. The grazing regime should reduce the overall sward height over time.
 
 
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