Grassland Vegetation and Management of Hilton Green
Report of 2003 Field Survey and Subsequent Analysis
Hilton Wildlife Conservation Group
The undisturbed permanent grassland Village Green at Hilton, Cambridgeshire, is described.
Traditionally grazed up to 1950, it has since been managed for hay, with variations for football and cricket, and elsewhere for amenity. Differences in grassland vegetation from these regimes have become apparent and are likely to be of ecological interest and conservation importance.
In 2003, 21 compartments were identified for study. A survey based on stratified random sampling was undertaken to describe variation in the vegetation and to provide advice on management. The results have been subjected to statistical analysis. They are discussed in relation to affinities with the National Vegetation Classification; to the importance of the Green at county and regional levels; and to differences associated with the main management regimes, categorised broadly as Hay, Parish Council (extensive amenity), Cricket (outfield), and Intense.
The hayfield compartments are shown to be of the greatest ecological interest. Recommendations are made for the continued current management of the hayfield (and the football pitch as an important variation taking into account recent recreational requirements) and of the cricket ground. Suggestions are made to reduce the turnover of nutrients in the intensively managed and amenity areas, to increase biodiversity and for amenity, together with the return of two of the amenity areas to hayfield management.
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