The Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria) is a very rare, vivid pink wildflower which is feared to be one of our fastest declining plant species due to the loss of traditional grassland and farmland habitats.
It prefers light, sandy, acidic soils and requires open conditions to grow well. It can be found on disturbed ground, such as tracks and field edges, along hedgerows, and in dry pasture, flowering in July and August.
It is now believed to occupy less than 20 sites, and in recent years has become locally extinct in Dorset and Somerset, and has disappeared from over half of its Essex stronghold. This project aims to ensure that no Devon sites are falling into poor condition.
Buckfastleigh is the national stronghold for Dianthus armeria but management lacks coordination and consequently there has been a notable decline in population size at the main sites.
Urgent action is required to bring together relevant organisations and people to establish a network for the future which can be responsive to challenges and to support the development of best management practices across all sites.
DEF’s grant will enable the Species Recovery Trust to complete an extensive survey of the historic and reported new sites at Buckfastleigh to determine the wider population size.
They will then work in collaboration with local partners (including Be Wild Buckfastleigh, Moor Meadows, Dartmoor National Park, Buckfastleigh Town Council and Devon County Council) to establish a joint long-term plan to safeguard sites and raise awareness of the plant and Buckfastleigh’s importance nationally.