Sussex Wildlife Trust

Ditchling Beacon Land Appeal

Sussex Wildlife Trust has the opportunity to buy eight acres of land at Ditchling Beacon and restore it to healthy chalk grassland, rich in wildlife. Please help us purchase this land so that we can expand Ditchling Beacon nature reserve to almost 60 acres. This area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is home to many threatened downland species including orchids, skylarks and butterflies.

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (207005)

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  • AnimalsAnimals
  • Environment/ConservationEnvironment/Conservation
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing
  • Sports/RecreationSports/Recreation

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Location

Situation

Our existing Ditchling Beacon reserve has been under Sussex Wildlife Trust management for 34 years, leased from the Ditchling Commoners. The acquisition of this additional land will give us the chance to improve the conservation management of the entire nature reserve and restore the chalk grassland, a nationally rare habitat. Since the 1940s, this precious habitat has diminished in Britain and, if you are able to help, we need to make the most of this opportunity. We plan to graze the whole reserve with our own Herdwick sheep and British white cattle, which are very effective at keeping encroaching scrub at bay, enabling fragile species to thrive. Careful scrub management is the key factor in maintaining chalk grasslands. Without proper management scrub encroaches and nutrient levels build up, allowing nettle and bramble to take hold which can eclipse wildflowers such as horseshoe vetch and round-headed rampion. Carefully managed grazing by sheep and cattle provides the ideal conservation management tool, resulting in incredibly rich biodiversity. In addition, the expanded Ditchling Beacon nature reserve will be home to some cattle and sheep from the Trust’s West Sussex reserves through the winter months. The additional land would provide a sheltered spot for stock in bad weather. It has excellent access and we would be able to install a water supply. This land purchase would be of strategic importance for our entire conservation grazing programme. Our target is to raise £50,000 in order to: • Purchase eight acres of land adjacent to our existing reserve and restore it to healthy grassland, rich in wildlife • Erect a perimeter fence and install a permanent water supply, enabling us to turn the whole reserve into a single grazed unit and implement a long-term grazing plan • Install new gates so that people have freedom to walk on the nature reserve Thank you for your interest in our project. Please contact Sussex Wildlife Trust if you have any further questions.

Solution