Ebernoe Common habitat protection

One of 30 Sussex Wildlife Trust nature reserves, Ebernoe Common is a National Nature Reserve just north of Petworth in West Sussex. The 76 hectare site comprises ancient woodland with glades, ponds and architectural remains, which support an amazing and diverse variety of fauna and flora.

It is home to 13 of the 16 species of bat which occur in the UK, including the rare Bechstein’s and barbastelle bats. In 2002 Restore Our Planet provided a grant to Sussex Wildlife Trust to help purchase redundant farmland adjacent to Ebernoe Common. This redundant farmland will be managed with minimum intervention allowing natural regeneration of woodland areas. These will develop over time into pasture woodland to be managed by the reintroduction of grazing.

This is a long-term project and in time the more newly acquired land will develop the same biodiversity as the ancient woodland.

Malling Down Habitat protection

Only 3-5% of the South Downs remains in a species-rich state. Malling Down Nature Reserve is a 38.1 hectare reserve forming part of the Lewes Downs SAC/SSSI, situated just East of Lewes. It is one of the jewels in the crown of The South Downs.

In December 2001 Restore Our Planet provided match funding which has enabled the purchase of 98 acres of adjacent land, doubling the size of the reserve. The redundant farmland that was purchased, some of which had been in set-aside for 10 years, has benefited greatly from management by grazing. This has resulted in seeds from the downland plants starting to populate the newer areas and increasing the biodiversity.

In November 2002 a further donation was made, which has assisted the Trust in appointing a Conservation Grazing Officer to manage the Trust’s flock of sheep.

Filsham Bittern project

The SSSI – Filsham reed-bed is the largest reed bed in Sussex, tucked away in the Combe Haven valley between Bexhill and Hastings. It is a large patchwork of reed-bed, sedge swamp, rushes and open water.

The valley is an important migration route for birds, and the reedbed is a crucial stopping off point for thousands of swallows and warblers, and much rarer species such as marsh harrier and bittern. Unusual plants such as frogbit, water violet and the insectivorous bladderwort flourish wherever enough light reaches the water surface.

In the year 2000 Restore Our Planet contributed match funding in order to help finance phase 2 of an ambitious project to improve the water management of the site.

Rowland Wood- Restoration and Management

Butterfly Conservation has purchased Rowland Wood, an 80 acre woodland which is part of the famous Vert Wood complex 2 kms south of East Hoathly, East Sussex which supports the last remaining colony of the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary in South East England. Vert Wood is also considered one of the best moth sites in the country due to the mix of ancient woodland, heathland habitat and its overall size.

The neighbouring woodland also holds breeding adders, raven, hobby and nightjar. Rare moths include Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth and White-spotted Sable ( Anania funebris ). The purchase of the wood was made possible by the generous legacy from Miss Pamela Lewis in memory of her mother and father, however additional funding is now required to pay for urgent woodland management.

It is planned to widen rides, create open glades and to remove some of the denser conifer plantations which are shading out large areas of potentially good butterfly habitat. Restore Our Planet has provided a grant to assist in the purchase of a suitable piece of equipment to help carry out this work.