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New tool used to protect rare downland plants

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BRAND-new tools were put to use for the first time at the Steyning Downland Scheme on Saturday.

A £750 donation from West Sussex County Council meant the scheme could buy its own much-needed tools, including fencing spades and mallets, for the first time.

Project manager Matthew Thomas said they could now fence around their precious wild juniper plants, which are a national biodiversity action plan species.

“We are quite proud to have some of that here. It is really declining and quite rare,” he explained.

The juniper plants grow on the roadside in Bostal Road and the fencing will protect them from rabbits, as well as encourage new seedlings.

Volunteers set to work on land off Mouse Lane, Steyning, lead by ranger Debbie Nicolls, and county councillor David Barling went along to see the tools in use.

Debbie said they were filling in some gaps in fencing around farmland, and clearing and staking around recently-planted disease resistant elms.

Cllr Barling said: “We are lucky to have the Steyning Downland Scheme. It’s 126 acres and it is something for everybody.”

He said the team did a fantastic job keeping it clean and clear, as well as putting up signs, and everybody enjoyed it.

 

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