skip to main content
The Royal Parks web site uses cookies. By browsing you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Read our cookie policy

Grassland facts

  • The Royal Parks are home to many different types of grassland that are used and enjoyed in many different ways. So many in fact that our park managers have 26 different ways that they can cut the grass!
  • Grasslands can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Traditional grazing methods using cattle and sheep are very good for grasslands. That’s why Mission: Invertebrate employs some fury friends to help improve our invertebrate habitats.
  • Grasslands aren’t just grass. It actually contains a huge variety of plant species including rushes, wildflowers, herbs, heathers, mosses and of course, grasses.

The Royal Parks contain lots of different invertebrate-friendly habitats, but when it comes to grasslands, we don’t fully understand the invertebrates that live there.

Grasslands cover more than a quarter of the Earth’s surface, and provide many fundamental ecological services. They are important stores of global carbon, help with water cycling, and prevent soil erosion. Grassland habitats support huge communities of invertebrate that are vitally important in shaping grassland ecosystems.

There are many different types of grassland in the Royal Parks, including a nationally important habitat known as lowland acid grassland. Acid grassland is characterised by clumps of vegetation and bare ground that allows many invertebrates to flourish, including ants, grasshoppers, butterflies, and solitary wasps and bees.

Many of these species are specialists, meaning that they can only be found on this type of grassland. It is estimated that there are fewer than 30,000 hectares of lowland acid grassland left in the UK.

The yellow meadow ants that live in the acid grassland in Richmond and Bushy parks are the original farmers, helping shape our parks over hundreds of years into what we see today. They redistribute soils by building nests in grassland, extending about a metre underground, allowing air and nutrients to reach more deeply. The top of their anthills support unique plant communities, adding biodiversity to our grasslands. You can spot mounds of soil at the surface of these nests across the parks, particularly in Richmond and Bushy Park. Our research estimated that there are as many as 400,000 ant hills in Richmond Park alone, providing homes for 3 billion ants!

Modern agricultural practices and increasing development for housing and roads are putting ever more pressure on our grasslands. By helping us to understand the invertebrates that live here, you can help us to improve our management strategies for the parks and raise awareness of their plight.

Grassland facts

  • The Royal Parks are home to many different types of grassland that are used and enjoyed in many different ways. So many in fact that our park managers have 26 different ways that they can cut the grass!
  • Grasslands can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Traditional grazing methods using cattle and sheep are very good for grasslands. That’s why Mission: Invertebrate employs some fury friends to help improve our invertebrate habitats.
  • Grasslands aren’t just grass. It actually contains a huge variety of plant species including rushes, wildflowers, herbs, heathers, mosses and of course, grasses.

Help us improve our website by providing your feedback.

search