The National Park brings opportunities for additional projects which further the Park's Purposes and socio-economic Duty. South Downs Land Managers seeks to ensure that these projects and funding opportunities are accessible and relevant to our members, without which they will not be effective for the Park. Here are some examples:
The Heathlands Reunited project, led by the South Downs National Park Authority and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, aims to expand, create new and improve existing heathland.
The heathlands are home to all twelve of our native reptiles and amphibians, but cover just one per cent of the South Downs National Park, mostly separated into ‘islands’ where isolated plants and animals are far more vulnerable to local extinction.
The project aims to inspire communities to visit their heathlands, learn more about them and work together to look after them so they can be enjoyed for generations to come.
The project will run across 5 years, working with 11 partners on 41 heathland sites.
For more information contact Colin Carre
As part of the Local Plan process the SDNPA are developing guidance on the preparation of Whole Estate Plans. If you are looking to undertake any significant planning development then it is likely that an Estate plan will be required. The latest version of the draft guidance is available to download here. If you are interested in preparing a WEP and wish to arrange a meeting contact WEPS@southdowns.gov.uk
Also available to download is an information sheet to assist in the process of requesting mapped physical data available on your land holding, as part of collating information about your assets. Examples of Whole Estate Plans that have been endorsed by the South Downs National Park Authority can be read here
Developed by Natural Partnerships CIC and funded by the National Park Authority and Southern Co-op, the South Downs Food and Drink Portal promotes food and drink produced within the South Downs (including a 10 mile radius), The food finder allows you to search for producers, retailers and local hospitality businesses that sell or serve local produce. It also lists a variety of local food events through out the year, from Farmers Markets to cookery courses. Local producers are encouraged to sign up to promote their goods and get involved in networking and cluster group events held through out the South Downs. To find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Farmers and Landowners in parts of the National Park are coming together to form 'Cluster Groups'. This enables them to access funding under Countryside Stewardship for a facilitator to help them deliver conservation objectives on a 'landscape scale'. It helps provide a co-ordinated approach working across boundaries to benefit the soils, water, wildlife and historic features. Farmers also benefit by sharing knowledge and expertise.
The six cluster areas range in size from 5,000ha to over 30,000ha and have between 10 and 45 members: A list of priorities for each cluster group can be found by following the links below.
Winchester Downs Cluster (far western end of the Downs) Contact Rob Nicholls
Ground-nesting birds of the South Downs such as corn bunting, grey partridge, lapwing, stone curlew and skylark are special to the habitats that we create and manage. They are an iconic illustration of why farming, including arable as well as pasture, is vital to nature in our landscape.
We have opportunities both to conserve these birds which are declining in other parts of the country, and also to publicise the important environmental contribution farmers make in the South Downs. In order to make the best of these opportunities, South Downs Land Managers has joined the steering group of the South Downs Farmland Bird Initiative, as a supporting partner organisation.
Monitoring is carried out by volunteers and then collated and mapped to show where priority species are found. The SDFBI brings together information and advice from all the member organisations. More information can be found on their website www.sdfarmbirds.com
SDNPA rangers and the Volunteer Ranger Service (VRS) are working closely with local farmers to install nesting boxes and to retain rough tussock grassland around field edges and unused field corners. This long grass provides the right habitat for the barn owls’ favourite diet of small mammals, Field Vole, Mice, and Shrews. Rangers have so far installed 250 Barn Owl boxes working with 95 Farmers and Landowners. For more information click the link in the title above. There is a dedicated ranger in each of the area offices able to assist any farmer wanting to help the conservation of Barn Owls. If you are interested in having a Barn Owl box installed on your farm contact email@example.com
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