The Lincolnshire Wolds National Character Area (including the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) holds the higher ground to the north east of the county underlain by the chalk rock that lends a gentle roll to the landscape. Stretching across 845 square kilometres (325 square miles) from the edge of the Fenlands northwards to the Humber, it covers just less than 1/8th of Lincolnshire.
Lincolnshire Wolds National Character Area
Before the early 19th century, a mixed landscape contained more semi-natural grassland than today, maintained by grazing. This has subsequently been lost to cultivation. A 54% decline in all grasslands throughout the Wolds was recorded between 1975 and 1994 by the MAFF Agricultural Census. What little remains of this habitat is among the most fragmented of its kind in the UK. In certain places, thin chalky soils can support a very high diversity of grassland plants and the animals they support. Additional species are also found in the semi-natural grassland that can develop on the richer 'drift' soils overlying the chalk.
The location of all that is left of Lincolnshire's wildflowers is not yet known; but it is thought that most parishes in the area contain some flower-rich road verges. Roadside and green lane verges are an important and distinctive feature of the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB. In places, verges are as much as 20m wide, with many also having a cultural and historical value, e.g. Roman roads, Salters’ roads, Enclosure roads and drove roads such as the ancient Bluestone Heath Road. Lincolnshire’s Roadside Nature Reserve (RNR) Scheme (formerly known as the Protected Road Verge Scheme), adopted in 1960, was the first in the UK. The existing 15 RNRs and 14 roadside Local Wildlife Sites of the Wolds form the starting point for a new wave of surveys to improve our knowledge of this threatened habitat.
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