South Downs National Park
Community Grant recipient for East Sussex
The South Downs National Park Trust, the official charity of the South Downs National Park, is a small organisation with big ambitions. They want to see more land managed for wildlife, more rare habitats protected, more local communities thriving and more people able to access and enjoy their National Park. But this means a lot of investment…
Our £10,000 donation will go towards the restoration of a network of ponds, one of the charity’s big projects, to improve water quality for the benefit of wildlife and endangered species such as great-crested newts.
Historically, dew ponds were a common sight on the South Downs. They used to provide vital water for grazing animals and wildlife in an otherwise dry landscape. But changes in practices – such as an increase in piped water or troughs for stock – have seen the management of ponds deteriorate in recent decades.
Jeremy Burgess, Landscape and Biodiversity Lead, reviewed and provided guidance to the project. He oversaw the trust’s Dew Pond Survey in 2016-2019, which researched the condition of ponds across the chalk landscape and helped inform selection of sites for restoration.
James Winkworth, from the South Downs National Park, said: “In the UK, 41% of species have declined in abundance since 1971 – and there are no signs of this letting up. One quarter of native mammals are now at risk of extinction in Britain, and natural resources – such as fresh water – are under immense pressure from abstraction, pollution and the increasing impacts of climate change.
The Southern Water donation will help us with our “Downs to the Sea” project, restoring a network of nature and dew ponds that will help sustain many of our precious and endangered species.“
Would you like to volunteer to help the South Downs National Park? Get in touch with [email protected].