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Sussex Downs Restoration Fund

Sussex Downs
Restoration Fund

The Sussex Downs are our common heritage. Lets not be the generation that allows them to slip into irreversible neglect.

Learn about this appeal by watching our short video

Sussex Downs Restoration Fund video by Neil Fletcher, Sussex Wildlife Trust's Interpretation Officer

For the past fifty years, the Sussex Wildlife Trust have been battling to bring back some of the lost wildlife to the South Downs. Some of the sites where were doing this have been our own nature reserves, but weve also been invited to help by other owners of downland sites who dont have the expertise to perform this critical work.

Its not easy- numerous surveys to establish what might be possible; often thousands of hours of scrub removal by both contractors and volunteers; installing miles of fencing and water troughs on difficult, steep terrain; regular monitoring of the wildlife as it starts to return; and then ongoing maintenance work and improvement, forever.

We love doing it, and we love the fact that more and more people are returning to the Downs, and bringing their children, to once again enjoy all the wildlife that our grandparents took for granted. But its expensive. Machinery and tools, contractors, fencing materials, vets bills, livestock and animal husbandry - it all adds up, but its really worth it to see the orchids blooming and hear the skylarks singing again.

Thats why were asking you to help us.

Please help us to raise 40,000 to continue to fund this work for the next three years. Finances are becoming tighter for everyone now, but for charities like ours it can mean the difference between continuing to safeguard our wildlife and countryside heritage or letting it slip away, possibly forever. Any donation you can make will go directly towards protecting our Sussex Downs - for now and into the future.

Thank you so much for your support

Donate easily and securely via JustGiving.

Credit cards, debit cards and PayPal accepted.

Some of the downland nature reserves were bringing back to life...

Southerham - donated to the Trust in 2001, this former farm provides a rare opportunity to return fields that were once under arable crops back to chalk grassland. Its a long process waiting for the nutrients in the soils to gradually deplete enough to allow typical chalk grassland flowers to flourish. Miles of fencing and water have been installed for livestock, and careful management has greatly improved conditions for flowers and butterflies on the former pastures.

Friston Forest - we were asked by the Forestry Commission to help restore the wildlife value to the rides and cleared areas within this plantation of mixed trees. Weve used our rare breed British white cattle, which are superb at keeping down the bramble which threatens to suppress the wild flowers that in turn provide food for numerous woodland butterflies. Weve had to supply water for them of course, as well as continuously checking on their welfare - a timeconsuming and expensive business.

Ditchling Beacon - in 1976 the owners of this beautiful high point on the Downs invited Sussex Wildlife Trust to manage it as a nature reserve, recognising that its wildlife value was being lost to ever increasing scrub and trees. Over the intervening years weve managed to halt the degradation, restore some land that had been lost, and reintroduce grazing. But there are still difficult challenges ahead if we are to fulfil our long-term plans and restore this famous site to the condition it deserves.

Seaford Head - in 2013 Seaford Town Council asked us to help manage this fabulous site with one of the most iconic views in England of the Seven Sisters coastline. Our ecologist soon identified many rare and important species which are just hanging on in the face of encroaching scrub. Weve been able to do some scrub control and graze a little with temporary fencing, but the long-term management is going to be complicated and expensive if we are to secure a future for both the species and the downland landscape.

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