Downland – Wiltshire has the most important area of chalk downland in Europe. However, what is left of this flower-rich downland is now fragmented; we have 20% of what existed 100 years ago. Linda Smith from Natural England tells us why chalk downland is so rich in flowers and insects and show Mike the rare Burnt-tip Orchid and many other downland flowers.
The downs of Wiltshire are also home to a bird which is three feet tall and has a wing span of six feet. The rare Great Bustard was once common on Salisbury Plain and now after 150 years they have been re-introduced to the area. Several of these extraordinary birds can be seen. Their chicks live entirely on insects and thus they reside among flower-rich meadows where they can find the insects they need. Al Dawes is Project Manager for the Great Bustard Project and tells us all about one of the rarest birds in Britain.
Mike visits Charles Flower’s flower-farm who explains how you can grow wild flowers in your own garden and help to attract more butterflies and bees. Downland plants are essential food plants for many rare butterflies like the Small Blue.
Mike also visits Lyn Miles in her downland garden near Salisbury and she tells us how flowers can grow well in thin, chalky soils.
With thanks to
Great Bustard Project
Executive Producer for ITV
Produced and Directed by
© Mallinson Sadler Productions 2008
MALLINSON SADLER PRODUCTIONS for ITV