By Chloe Harrison
Community Support Officer, Wilder Horsham District (Sussex Wildlife Trust)
Wilder Horsham District is delighted to offer its congratulations to the first successful applicants for the Nature Recovery Award.
Since its recent launch in November 2020, the Nature Recovery Award has run two application rounds and offered to fund three project proposals. Wilder Horsham District is focused on working closely with local communities and landowners to create, expand and develop a Nature Recovery Network, and the Award is central to this supporting role. For landowners and community groups, funding of up to £5,000 is available to support practical schemes that focus on improving networks for wildlife in Horsham District.
These first three funded projects mark an exciting turning point in transforming what has been until now a Nature Recovery Network on paper into a tangible, on-the-ground story with physical works taking place to create and develop our Horsham network. The successful applications are a showcase for the wide variety of activities that can be performed to improve many varying types of land for nature and for people.
Friends of Glebe Field, Thakeham
Friends of Glebe Field will be transforming a flat area of grassland and meadow into a community orchard designed, planted, and maintained by volunteers. The plans extend to a small-scale rewilding of the land, with revenue from the community orchard to be re-invested in further initiatives such as a pond, wildflower meadows, bird and bat boxes, and selective planting of native trees and enhancement of existing hedgerows. They also hope to host events such as stargazing nights and bird identification sessions, using the space as an opportunity to reach out to the wider community and promote environmental awareness. It is a lovely example of how the land can be managed both for people and wildlife, and improve the quality of the space for all.
Tree planting efforts already underway by Friends of Glebe Field.
The Society of St. Columba, Wiston
On a historic 19th Century farmstead, The Society of St. Columba is in the process of repurposing former intensively farmed arable land for community and charitable use. As part of this larger aim, they have been awarded funding for the restoration of a currently overgrown pond, improving the micro-topography of the land, and increasing the habitat quality and variety of the landscape, especially for amphibians, reptiles, and insects. A second pond will also be reconnected to an existing chalk water ditching, improving a rare chalk water habitat of great ecological interest. Alongside many micro-habitats already existing on the site, the ponds are a significant contribution to producing a mosaic of habitats that are so valuable in the creation of a Nature Recovery Network.
The overgrown pond The Society of St. Columba aims to restore.
Brooks Field Farm, Woodmancote
Privately owned site Brooks Field Farm was awarded funding for their ambitions to reclaim low-lying land currently used for year-round equine grazing. Instead, they plan to create a pond and wetland area, with tree planting and a new hedge also being introduced to link the land to nearby wildlife-rich habitat. The introduction of wet habitat will provide habitat to support a whole new ecosystem, as well as offering a greater quality of habitat for insects, mammals, and birds. The native hedgerows and trees will offer a vital source of food, shelter, and habitat for a wide variety of fauna and flora. This is a great example of habitat creation and highlights the importance and value of connecting existing habitats for wildlife to create corridors for species to move safely through landscapes, a key component of building a Nature Recovery Network.
All three projects are a celebration of the brilliant ongoing efforts for conservation and wildlife in Horsham District, and we look forward to being able to support and fund many more projects over Wilder Horsham District’s 5 years.
If you are interested in finding out more or submitting an application, all further details can be found on the Nature Recovery Award’s webpage at https://sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/get-involved/community-projects/wilder-horsham/nature-recovery-award.