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Western Heights

Dexters at Western Heights (c) Paul Sampson

The Western Heights is a modified landscape that formed an important part of the military defences of the area in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Military earthworks carried out throughout the 19th century formed ditches and enhanced the steep slopes to conceal the fortifications and provide a wide field of fire.  However, these slopes were grazed by both the army and local people in order to keep them clear of scrub.

Grazing was abandoned in the 1950s but reintroduced by the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership in 1990.  However, significant areas of scrub remain from the time that the site was unmanaged and Up on the Downs has enabled some of these to be cleared, enlarging the area available for grazing.  The site supports early spider orchid, chalk eyebright and the wall brown butterfly.

Action has been taken to restore parts of the site by removing scrub and grazing the regrowth so that chalk grassland reappears. 

Western Heights