Trees for the Downs: Call for applications in South Downs initiative to plant 100,000 new trees

The South Downs National Park has launched its next round of applications for an initiative which is aiming to plant 100,000 new trees.

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Over 11,000 trees have been planted across the region over the past few months as part of the Trees for the Downs initiative – on top of 10,000 trees planted during the previous winter.

Applications are welcome from landowners, farmers, parish and town councils, schools and community groups in the National Park.

Read More
National Lottery Open Week: Sussex venues offering free entry or special offers ...
Woodland in sunlight in the South Downs National Park by Sam MooreWoodland in sunlight in the South Downs National Park by Sam Moore
Woodland in sunlight in the South Downs National Park by Sam Moore
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The call-out comes after a tremendous public response to the Trees for the Downs campaign, which launched three years ago.

So far, almost £200,000 has been raised by the South Downs National Park Trust, the official independent charity for the National Park, which has set its sights on raising £260,000 to be able to plant 100,000 trees in total.

The tree planting is restoring those lost to pests and diseases, including ash dieback and Dutch elm disease, as well as creating new habitat for wildlife and amenity value for local communities.

The trees will be a mixture of disease-resistant elm trees and native species, such as oak and black poplar.

Views of the South Downs National Park Harting Down in West Sussex. Photo: Sam Moore/SDNPAViews of the South Downs National Park Harting Down in West Sussex. Photo: Sam Moore/SDNPA
Views of the South Downs National Park Harting Down in West Sussex. Photo: Sam Moore/SDNPA
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sites include schools, farms, recreation grounds and historic parks.

The trust is working with the National Park Authority’s woodlands team to deliver the project.

Sonia Lorenzo Martín, woodlands lead for the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “We’ve worked really hard with partners this winter to plant all these new trees and are excited to plant even more later this year.

“Trees are amazing and such an important part of the South Downs landscape, which has more woodland by area than any other National Park in England and Wales.

Sonia Lorenzo-Martin, landscape and biodiversity strategy lead (woodlands) at the South Downs National Park AuthoritySonia Lorenzo-Martin, landscape and biodiversity strategy lead (woodlands) at the South Downs National Park Authority
Sonia Lorenzo-Martin, landscape and biodiversity strategy lead (woodlands) at the South Downs National Park Authority
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“They give us clean air to breathe and are the life support for so many animals and other plants.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to be part of nature recovery, restoring habitat that has been lost, as well as creating new habitat for nature to flourish.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the new applications that come forward.

“Trees for the Downs is also an important strand of the National Park’s long-term ‘ReNature’ initiative, fighting biodiversity loss and also helping to tackle climate change and creating a more resilient ecosystem in the future.”

Julie Blackwell, president of Soroptimist International Southern England region, alongside Dane Brewer and Liz Batten planting elms at LongmoorJulie Blackwell, president of Soroptimist International Southern England region, alongside Dane Brewer and Liz Batten planting elms at Longmoor
Julie Blackwell, president of Soroptimist International Southern England region, alongside Dane Brewer and Liz Batten planting elms at Longmoor
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

30 sites across Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex have been receiving trees for planting over the past few months.

Here are some of the highlights:

• A hundred trees were planted at Longmoor Range and Training Area, near Liss, as part of a joint initiative with Soroptimist International, a global women’s organisation celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2021. Tree planting mirrors the project of 1921 when the organisation began in Oakland, California, and women were successful in protecting redwood trees at that time.

• Trees were provided from the National Park Trust for the new Tercentenary Wood at Penns Place, Petersfield. All pupils and staff at Churcher’s College planted a tree to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and to commemorate the school’s 300-year anniversary by leaving a lasting legacy for the future.

• Five elms, seven oak trees and two field maple trees were provided by the Trust and dedicated to the Queen’s Green Canopy in the grounds of Glyndebourne Opera House. The Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex, Andrew Blackman, planted one of the disease-resistant elms.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

• More than 1,500 trees were planted by volunteers at Wild Heart Hill, near Worthing.

• Elms have been provided for the community at East Dean, near Chichester, to create a new avenue of elms, replacing one that was lost many years ago.

Andy Player, rural estate delivery advisor for Landmarc Support Services, who helps to manage woodland at Longmoor for the Ministry of Defence, said: “The trees are not only increasing the size of the woodlands, but also the species diversity, providing habitat for the endangered white letter hairstreak butterfly.

“These trees are also mitigating the effects of climate change and enhancing the amenity value of the treescape of the camp and training area for the benefit of visiting troops and the public.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We appreciate the support of the South Downs National Park Trust, and are also pleased to have received additional support from Soroptimist International during their milestone year.”

Julie Blackwell, president of Soroptimist International Southern England region, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the South Downs National Park on their Trees for the Downs project.

“By planting 100 trees for our centenary, it is a fitting tribute to the first project of our organisation in California, Saving the Redwoods.

“It’s also a topical project for climate change and the environment which is high on our agenda.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

To find out more about making an application for Trees for the Downs, visit www.southdownstrust.org.uk/trees-for-the-downs

The deadline for applications is May 15 and the trees will be planted between December 2022 and February next year.

The tree planting has been made possible thanks to generous donations from the public, as well as support from Aspinal of London, Cinven, Jude’s – a carbon negative B Corp, Nyetimber and South East Water.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

---

For the latest breaking news where you live in Sussex, follow us on Twitter @Sussex_World and like us on Facebook @SussexWorldUK