Natural England - ‘South Downs Way Ahead’ NIA

‘South Downs Way Ahead’ NIA

NIA grant awarded: £608,285
Additional resources provided by this NIA: £2,405,703

The vision is for ‘a better connected and inspirational chalk ecosystem, sustainably managed to enhance biodiversity and people’s well-being for now and the future.’

Harting Downs chalk escarpment © Ian McConnell

Year two delivery

Progress from year two of the NIA can be found in this summary: (385kb)pdf document.

Progress from year one of the NIA can be found in this summary: (158kb)pdf document.

South Downs Way Ahead Partnership Members

 Arun and Rother Rivers Trust, Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton University, Butterfly Conservation, Eastbourne Borough Council, Environment Agency, Forestry Research, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Leeds University, Lewes District Council, Lewes & Ouse Valley Eco-nomics Group, National Trust, Natural England, Portsmouth Water, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Rural Economy and Land Use Programme (Newcastle University), South Downs Land Management Group, South Downs National Park Authority, South Downs Network, (23) South East Water, Southern Water, Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Winchester City Council.

‘South Downs Way Ahead’ NIA objectives

Walk the Chalk: To broaden the South Downs Way National Trail as a semi-natural corridor and improve the natural qualities of the route.

Linking the Fragments: To achieve real improvements to the conservation and management of chalk grassland at the heart of the matrix of downland habitats.

Surface to Groundwater: To demonstrate the viability and benefits of an input based approach to the improvement of groundwater quality.

Town to Down: To assess and demonstrate the benefits of ecosystem services to urban populations.

Valuing the Chalk: To attribute environmental, economic and social values to the benefits and services provided by chalk downland.

NIA project delivery will include:

  • Creation of a viable chalk grassland ecological network (working with land managers);

  • Sourcing and supplying target plant species for chalk grassland restoration (including collection of chalk grassland seeds by volunteers);

  • Chalk grassland restoration trial plots and restoration training workshops;

  • Establishing long-lasting orchid populations on chalk grassland sites;

  • Itchen Valley & Downs grazing project;Duke of Burgundy © Neil Hulme

  • Enhancing and reconnecting Duke of Burgundy butterfly populations;

  • Conserving and enhancing farmland bird populations in the South Downs by working with land managers;

  • Provision of free conservation land management advice to land managers;

  • Farm education days to demonstrate best practice in farmland conservation to the general public (especially urban populations);

  • Developing a South Downs Way visitor payback scheme;

  • Surface to groundwater land use scenario modelling to improve groundwater quality (the model will help to target land management actions to improve water quality);

  • Lewes ‘Town to Down’ initiative assessing the value of ecosystem services to local communities;

  • Bringing the chalk downs into Brighton & Hove urban environments through creation of a green network (including chalk habitats);

  • Bee bank creation in Brighton & Hove;

  • Connecting people in Brighton, Hove and Lewes with the Downs through improved access, creative media, education, interpretation and events (promoting understanding, appreciation and responsible use of the ecosystem services provided by the Downs e.g. access, biodiversity).

Further information

For further information contact link