Plans to reintroduce Black Grouse to Sussex


Early plans to reintroduce Black Grouse to Sussex are underway, with a feasibility report being drawn up to establish if the species could be released at Ashdown Forest.

It was confirmed in October 2022 that Natural England has offered funding for the report, which is being worked on at the moment. The research aims to establish whether the current habitat and climate could support a modern-day population of Black Grouse in the region.

Black Grouse could return to Sussex after an absence of almosty a century (Jamie MacArthur).

The site that has been identified for the possible release is Ashdown Forest – a 2,500-ha area of open heathland and woodland along the High Weald in East Sussex. It is the largest area with open public access in South-East England.

Today, the species is found in northern England, North Wales and Scotland, but its range used to extend further south. Ashdown Forest was the last stronghold for the species in Sussex and it persisted there until the early 1900s, with the last record – a female – in 1937.