South Downs farms take part in tree replanting initiative

TV presenter Nicki Chapman planted the first tree at Hamilton Farm, near Beauworth
TV presenter Nicki Chapman planted the first tree at Hamilton Farm, near Beauworth

Over 8,000 trees are being planted this winter at farms across the South Downs as part of an initiative to restore trees lost to disease such as Ash dieback.

The initiative was launched by the South Downs National Park Trust to replant trees that have been lost over the past few decades, including those to Dutch elm disease.

Farms across the region will take part in a wider bid to restore soils and give amenity value to local communities.

Farms participating include Colworth Farm, in West Dean, which will plant 160 trees. In Peacehaven, Hoddern Farm will plant 200.

Elsewhere, three sites in the Findon Valley, near Adur and Worthing, will see 4,078 trees planted.

The first tree of the campaign, a field maple, was planted by TV presenter Nicki Chapman at Hamilton Farm, near Beauworth in Hampshire, during recent filming for Escape to the Country.

Looking to boost the initiative, South East Water will be giving £15,000 every year until 2025 for new tree planting.

Nick Heasman, who heads the National Park’s woodlands team said: “Trees are part of the rich tapestry of features that make the South Downs landscape so special to people.

"They’re also cornerstones of any ecosystem and that means by planting more trees in the right place, we’re helping nature recovery, improving the quality of the soil and helping to mitigate against climate change.

“We’re looking forward to getting these trees in the ground over the winter and watching them develop over the coming years. It’s exciting to know we will be planting many more in the years ahead.”

During the summer an application process opened, where farmers and community groups could apply for tree planting this coming winter.

Future rounds of tree planting will be subject to a similar applications process, South Downs National Park Trust said.