Amazing! Porton Down is the UK’s center for research into chemical and biological weapons, and has been since 1916. Not the nicest place you could think of — by a long shot.
Well, it turns out that the massive no-go buffer zone around Porton Down, existing for 87 years, has preserved ‘the largest remaining continuous tract of chalk downland in Britain’. ‘The farming revolution of the 20th century, the development, the tourism, have all passed it by.’ ‘The disrupters are the large-scale inputs of chemicals, the pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers that are the essence of intensive farming. At Porton Down, these have never arrived.’
As a result, it’s now an amazing wildlife heritage site. Quite hard to get to see it — but good to know it’s there! Thanks to Bruce Sterling for forwarding this along the Viridian list.
Reminds me of something I heard about Chernobyl — since the area around it is heavily irradiated, and therefore a no-go area for humans, it’s become a de-facto wildlife refuge (even if half of the animal inhabitants are sterile as a result.)