Our projects

Our projects

We support the best projects, delivered by the best people, informed by the South Downs Rangers, local communities and environmental and heritage experts.

Learning outside

Children today spend half as much time playing outside as their parents did. We want to change that, increasing the recreational and learning time young people spend in the South Downs.

  • School Travel Grant
    We are supporting more children from low income families to experience learning outside the classroom in the South Downs National Park. In 2018, 1,110 more disadvantaged school children experienced their National Park thanks to a donation from Sussex Community Foundation and Brighton Rock Fund.
  • Apprentice Ranger Programme
    We have supported 5 new Apprentice Rangers who will help a new generation of South Downs Rangers protect the South Downs and our traditions.  We are also currently fundraising to create two new Forestry Apprentices to help care for our woodlands, which cover a significant proportion of the South Downs.
  • Supporting families to enjoy the South Downs
    This project will work with Sure Start Centres and food banks on the edge of the part to encourage those families using their services to participate in the John Muir Award. The award provides a flexible way for families to explore the outdoors, creating positive shared experiences and encouraging a long term relationship with the South Downs whilst benefiting from its the therapeutic qualities.
  • Increasing youth volunteering
    Recruiting a part time Ranger post for 6 months to administer, co-ordinate and to part deliver South Downs Youth Action Volunteer Activities for 16-25 year olds in the South Downs National Park during Easter and summer holidays.
mend your way

We want to increase the network of family-friendly walking and cycling routes and encourage more disadvantaged people to visit, who live near the Park but rarely experience the many benefits their National Park has to offer. 

  • Improving the South Downs Way
    Through the Mend our Way appeal the South Downs National Park Trust aims to raise £120,000 for critical improvements on the South Downs Way. More than half-a-million walkers, cyclists and riders enjoy the 160km trail every year. The South Downs National Park Trust is asking people who’ve enjoyed the trail to give something back. Through this campaign we will restore the most critical areas, safeguarding the South Downs Way for the future.
  • Creating a network of family friendly routes
    We are currently working to raise funds for two important new cycle routes – the Egret’s Way and the Centurion Way. These routes provide important, family friendly access to the South Downs Way.
  • Replacing stiles with swing gates
    Working with the South Downs Society we are creating a series of stile-free routes so that people with limited mobility can still enjoy their National Park.

Improve our grassland, heathland and woodland

We want to improve and increase our grassland, heaths and woods – which are home to millions of plants, bees, butterflies including many rare and threatened species.

  • Providing new habitat for the white-letter hairstreak butterfly
    We are working in partnership with Butterfly Conservation to plant 550 disease-resistant elm trees in the Adur Valley to support the recovery of this rare butterfly.
  • Hedge planting in Woolbeding
    Working with the National Trust and South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service we have helped to re-establish almost 6,000 metres of historic hedgerow, providing wildlife corridors for a range of species. 
  • Increasing habitat for pollinators
    Our Beelines appeal will restore habitat for pollinators across the South Downs. Launched in 2019, we are expecting to reach our target of £75,000 for habitat restoration to support our bees and butterflies. Projects are due to start middle to late 2020.
  • Restoring our treasured trees
    Planting 100,000 trees in community spaces, along roads and popular walking routes. Our focus will be on planting trees in places where people can connect with them and form part of everyday life such as on the walk to school.

Climate Action

Plans to develop an ambitious vision for the Ouse Valley in east Sussex. To become a national pioneer in tackling climate change and increasing sustainability.

The Ouse Valley CARES (which stands for Climate Action, Resilient Ecosystems and Sustainability) partnership won £150,000 of development funding in 2020 from the National Lottery Community Fund to work up a larger project, which aims to bring the whole community together to help the environment and create a more sustainable planet for future generations.

More information about the Ouse Valley Climate Action project

view over Lewes

Help for communities that live in and around the south downs to care for their national park


We support the grassroots groups already working to care for their National Park. We work with a number of supportive partners and donors who help fund their work.

  • The Volunteer Conservation Fund (supported by the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service)
    This fund supports projects that enhance the National Park and have the practical involvement of the Volunteer Ranger Service.
    More information
  • The Sustainable Communities Fund
    This fund supports non-profit, environmental projects which are community led. The fund requires projects to be financially sustainable as well and is therefore best placed to support capital expenditure although some revenue costs can be considered.
    More information
  • The Clean-up and Create Fund supported by The Boltini Trust- launching soon
    This fund’s objective is to reduce littering across the National Park. Groups taking part in litter picking activities can apply for help in purchasing litter-picking equipment such as gloves, grabbers, hi-viz, bin bags and bag-hoops. The grant fund will run alongside a school engagement programme which will work directly with schools to encourage litter reduction activities, part of which will be through a litter/recycled art competition.
    More information