Many ancient woods in Sussex are neglected. They're now often small, fragmented and vulnerable to the pressures of development, invasive species and climate change.

Without our help, there is a risk they'll be lost forever.

But we have a plan to rescue them. We are working with partners, landowners and communities across a project area of 400 square kilometres from Pulborough in the West to the fringes of Lewes in the East. Our work will:

  • improve the condition and management of the fragmented ancient woodland
  • transform the landscape to provide a corridor to reconnect these amazing areas
  • improve biodiversity, allowing wildlife to thrive
  • ensure local woodland owners are trained in management skills
  • create a resilient landscape that can cope with the effects of climate change.
14%
tree cover
The project area has low tree cover compared with 22.8% in the South Downs and 24.8% in the High Weald.
60%
of woods are neglected
That's the percentage of woods in the project area are not currently being managed and in a poor state.

What we're doing

With our partners, we're leading work that will transform the landscape that sits between the South Downs National Park and the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

We've received funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for initial plans, and then at the end of 2021, we hope to unlock further funding to deliver a full and ambitious programme that will bring life back to life these forgotten woods.

Our plans

  • Train local woodland managers in the traditional skills of coppicing, hedge laying and charcoal production.
  • Work with woodland owners to improve the condition of ancient woods with a focus on biodiversity.
  • Work with schools to get more children learning in a woodland environment.
  • Record all the ancient, veteran and notable trees in the area.
  • Write new management plans that include the care of old trees.
  • Create new woodland habitat through natural regeneration. 
  • Ensure all local people have access to woods.

Our partners

Lost Woods of the Low Weald and Downs would be impossible to deliver without our partners, Action in Rural Sussex, Sussex Wildlife Trust and Small Woods Association. We're also getting support from the Environment Agency and Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust.

Get involved

Get the latest news on the Lost Woods of the Low Weald and Downs and find out how to get involved.

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Our work to restore ancient woods