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Stinchcombe Hill - Unit 4

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Staff member responsible for SSSI unit: Paul Hackman
Unit ID: 1028999
Unit area: 25 hectares
Main habitat: Calcareous grassland - lowland
Condition:   Unfavourable no change
Latest assessment date: 16 July 2010
Reason for adverse condition: Undergrazing
Condition assessment comment: This assessment found that the herb ratio was better, now just above 40% (fav) although the litter content (54%) and sward height (13 cm) were both still very high. The positive indicators had dropped slightly to 6 freq, 3 occasional and 5 rare. The site was unfavourable for scrub which seems to have increased since the last assessment. So for calcareous grassland the site is considered as unfavourable no change. The site is also notified for early spider orchid, a rare leaf beetle and a grassland invertebrate assemblage. Some scrub is certainly valuable to grassland invertebrates and the site regularly provides 4 surfaces (scrub, tussocky grassland, short grassland and bare ground along pathways) for invertebrates. However, the amount of scrub, litter and tall grassland is not suitable for the invertebrate assemblage that relies on (F112) open short sward. Similarly, the early spider orchid and the rare leaf beetle requires short open grassland (and rock rose in the case of the latter). Records show that the leaf beetle is still present but the orchid has not been seen for many years. The lack of grazing and scrub management makes the unit unfavourable no change for all of the interest features.
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