OXFORDSHIRE NATURE CONSERVATION FORUM

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The Berkshire and Marlborough Downs Natural Area

The Berkshire and Marlborough Downs Natural Area (or the “North Wessex Downs”) forms a steep north-facing scarp slope with a well-developed spring line where the chalk meets the underlying clay. Arable agriculture and racehorse gallops are dominant land uses, but remnants of the once immense sheep-walk downland still persist at places like White Horse Hill and Aston Upthorpe, supporting rarities like the Adonis blue butterfly, pasque flower and early gentian.