Over the past nine months, the Weald to Waves corridor has made significant strides towards its goal of establishing functional connectivity across 100 miles of Sussex land and seascape.
We are delighted to announce the corridor has received a £50,000 grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation. This is a huge step toward securing a skilled team to carry out farm visits, survey work, monitoring and land manager engagement and we are so grateful for their support.
Here's a summary of the key milestones and a glimpse towards the exciting horizon:
In January 2023, the project began by establishing the route for the corridor and launched a new digital platform to serve as its home base. We used a range of mapping techniques to plot a route that took in protected areas and current green spaces and added data on species movement.
February saw the team working on identifying indicator species affected by fragmentation, crucial for monitoring the project's success.
In March, a series of maps were developed to analyse land use, habitat fragmentation, and landscape pressures, providing valuable insight into the challenges the project faces.
April marked a partnership with LandApp to create a pledge and registration system for land within the corridor, capturing both current use and environmental management plans.
May saw the launch of the Gardens and Greenspaces network, highlighting the importance of these areas within the corridor.
June featured a presentation of the project at Groundswell, the leading festival for regenerative agriculture. The session saw a vibrant Q&A from farmers, land managers and policymakers, and prompted new interest in how corridors can sit alongside and enhance food production.
July involved a series of high profile summer visits along the corridor for key UK groups and influencers, solidifying the project's national significance and role as a site of demonstration.
In August, support was extended to three major landscape recovery bids to the Environmental Land Management Scheme, signaling collaborative will among over 1500 ha of combined land in the corridor.
September hosted a national youth summit, Resurgence, on connectivity, bringing together over 100 young people to explore social and ecological connections.
Now, as we move into October, the project launches "Scrubland Superheroes" to create new scrubland habitats in six sites along the corridor. As well as supporting nightingale and turtle dove populations, this project has been funded as part of Natural England's Species Recovery Fund and our work will play a role in the reintroduction of the red-backed shrike, a bird lost from Sussex's landscape. We are also delighted to have received funding from two pioneering funders in nature recovery. More on this exciting news to follow.
Looking ahead, Weald to Waves has an exciting winter ahead:
New Management Roles: Recently announced funding will create two management roles to support land managers and oversee strategic partnerships and impact reporting.
Steering Committee and Chair Recruitment: The project will establish a new Steering Committee and Chair to enhance governance and influence, bringing in fresh skills and networks.
Gardens and Greenspaces Tool: A new planning and monitoring tool for smaller land plots (under 5 ha) will ensure these areas are included in planning and data collection.
Green Infrastructure Exploration: The project will explore the creation of green bridges and tunnels to facilitate wildlife movement across the corridor, enhancing ecological connectivity.
W2W film: We are working with a group of film makers to produce a short film for the corridor. This will travel through communities to show the ambition and potential of working together across landscapes.
We still need you! The corridor is making great strides but we need all the help we can get. From starting conversations with neighbours, to pledging your own land or garden, signing up to volunteer with us, or helping with citizen monitoring, we need all hands on deck.
If you have any questions or want to get involved in taking the corridor to the next level, write to us at Info@wealdtowaves.co.uk