The main land uses on the downs are as arableagriculture, woodland and calcareous grassland, a habitat which is growing as farmers are encouraged with set aside subsidies. Chalk is a permiable rock and the Dorset Downs hold a large water table which acts as a resevoir of drinking water for much of the county. This property of chalk also means there are many seasonal rivers, called winterbournes, whose flow depends upon the level of the water table.
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