Funding announced for South Downs conservation projects


A number of environmental initiatives in Sussex and Hampshire are set to receive a share of more than £130,000 in grants.

The money from the South Downs National Park Trust (SDNPT) will go to a total of 13 community-led projects to help restore biodiversity. This comes as part of the National Park's ReNature push, in which it aims to put an additional 13,000 ha of land in the South Downs into nature-friendly management by 2030.

The South Downs is well known for open-country birds such as Corn Bunting (Gary Faulkner).

A SDNPT spokeperson said: "The time for action is now and that's why these grants are so important."

Among the projects receiving the funding, £43,700 will go to Western Downs in Hampshire to aid the recovery of pollinator populations and £25,000 will help enhance a nature site near Beddingham, East Sussex. Wetland restoration will take place in Lewes, East Sussex, and Midhurst, West Sussex, the projects receiving £10,000 and £6,400 respectively.

Another example is Longmoor, Hampshire, where a cattle-grazing project will be granted £7,700 for heathland habitat management and to boost reptile populations.

Jan Knowlson, biodiversity officer for the South Downs National Park, said: "We are doing a lot of work with major landowners around establishing new habitats, but there’s also an incredible amount of work taking place in the community on smaller-scale projects.

"Often these smaller projects struggle for funding and that’s where a renature grant can make a huge difference."