The ArgusVisitors get sneak preview of restored South Downs woodland (From The Argus)

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Visitors get sneak preview of restored South Downs woodland

The Argus: Visitors get sneak preview of restored South Downs woodland Visitors get sneak preview of restored South Downs woodland

The biggest ever woodland restoration scheme taken on by The National Trust was previewed to visitors at a special open day in the South Downs.

The Rise of Northwood project on the Slindon estate promises to reforest 185 acres of land – the equivalent of 105 football pitches.

On Saturday the ranger team behind the project invited members of the public to view the plans and ask questions.

Senior ranger Bob Epsom, project leader, said: “This is not just a case of digging a few holes and popping in some trees.

“It’s been such an absorbing project to work on and I feel very privileged to be part of what will be a major chapter in Slindon’s varied and colourful history.”

The land has been barren of forestry since a large portion of it was felled for timber in the First World War by Canadian foresters using prisoner of war labour.

During the Second World War the ground was ploughed and the scrubland was converted for agricultural use.

The Rise of Northwood project will take ten years and will completely reshape the landscape of the estate. The management of the new woodland will bring a diversity of new habitats and encourage small mammals such as dormice and bats, as well as insect life such as Purple Emperor butterflies.

The area will be managed by a team of volunteer park rangers.

Mr Epsom said: “We already have dozens of volunteer groups regularly staying at our bunkhouse to work outside in the fresh air.

“We intend to let them get a piece of the Northwood action too.”

Funding for the scheme was a bequest from lover of the South Downs John Springthorpe |Hunt.

The National Trust intends to acknowledge his contribution by naming a wood Springthorpe.

A free guided walk, led by rangers, starting at Northwood junction will take place on March 8 from 2pm to show off the proposed plans.

To book call the estate’s office on 01243 814730.

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