Centuries of history have left their mark on the South Downs. The landscape we see today is inextricably linked to the people who have lived and worked here.
The South Downs landscape also contains some of the most diverse and yet most under-threat habitats and species in south east England. It is one of the best places for us to concentrate our efforts, working in partnership with others, such as the South Downs National Park authority, to help save declining wildlife.
We will focus our work on habitats such as chalk grassland, heathland, farmland and river floodplains, and on bird species such as lapwings, corn buntings, grey partridges, stone-curlews and nightjars.
Other species which will benefit from this approach to conservation include skylarks, yellowhammers, turtle doves, water voles, barbastelle bats, brown hares, Chalk Hill Blue and Duke of Burgundy butterflies, and rare arable plants.
Reserves and other protected areas are a key part of Futurescapes. They provide core areas for nature to thrive and eventually repopulate the surrounding landscapes. The RSPB reserve within this Futurescape is:
Set in the heart of beautiful countryside, this reserve is a fantastic day out for people of all ages. Walks lead through hedge-lined paths to viewing areas and hides where volunteers are often on hand to assist you as you spot the abundant wildlife.
We're working to safeguard and improve special places for nature. Each Futurescape contains a range of initiatives in addition to our reserves. The combination of these creates better conditions for wildlife across the countryside.
A collaborative partnership between farmers, conservation organisations and government agencies, helping to integrate conservation management into modern farming business. We aim to show that producing quality food while also providing quality habitats for wildlife is practical and achievable.
Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land in the South Downs. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with:
Saving special places
Victory for Harapan Rainforest
Beautiful Hutan Harapan forest is a precious remnant of the rainforest that once covered much of Sumatra (Photo: RSPB-images/Steve Roland) Hutan Harapan is one of the last remaining areas of dry lowland Sumatran forest and is among the most th...(r...Posted 12/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
Rila Mountains: The Final Piece in Bulgaria's Protected Area Network for Birds
Daniel Pullan, our International Casework Manager writes: I was thrilled last week when my Bulgarian colleague Irina Mateeva told me that the Bulgarian Government had designated the last part of the Rila Mountains as a Special Protection Area. This a...Posted 04/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
A net gain for nature
How can built development leave the natural environment in a better shape than it was before? This is the question at the heart of Defra’s recent consultation on ‘biodiversity net gain’. We know from the State of Nature 2016 report ...(read more)Posted 01/03/2019 by Simon Marsh
What will the new NPPF mean for places, people and nature?
On Tuesday the Government published a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England. You can see our previous commentary on the draft version here , here and here . The NPPF sets out the Government’s planning policies for England...(read ...Posted 27/07/2018 by Steph