Most of the wooded areas have been recorded as being Ancient. Visitors will see that the woodland varies across the estate with the different soil types and the way in which it has been managed historically.
Meadows support a wide array of wildflowers and grasses making them very important to pollinating insects. Bees and butterflies are among the hundreds of insects that visit the flowers for nectar. They are managed by taking a hay cut each year, and are unimproved by fertilisers.
Farmland provides important habitat for many different species of wildlife, through the crops that grow and the animal dung left by the grazing animals. The networks of hedgerows that divide the fields provide food and shelter for birds, insects and small mammals, as well as a protective corridor.
This rare habitat is a mix of chalk grassland and heathland. It tends to occur at the tops of chalk hills, where a thin layer or cap of clay sits on top. The area around Bignor Hill car park is a fine example. This results in a mixture of alkaline and acid loving plants living side by side.
Chalk grassland is a nationally rare habitat, formed by years of traditionally grazing by sheep and cattle. At Slindon it can be found at Bignor Hill, Downes Barn and around The Folly. It provides a rich mix of grasses and wild flowers, which benefit a range of wildlife such as butterflies.
As well as holding a special place in people's affections, traditional orchards are a hotspot for wildlife. Their fruit trees, dead wood, meadows and hedgerows support 1800 species from the plant, fungi and animal kingdoms. Spend a few reflective moments in the Jubilee Orchard in the village next to the Forge.
These ponds are a visible link to the past on the South Downs. Originally created as watering holes for sheep they are now important wildlife sites in an otherwise dry landscape. The dewpond to the west of Bignor car park is to be restored, as at present it doesn’t hold water.
Coppicing at Slindon
Each winter our rangers and volunteers coppice areas of hazel woodland for wildlife benefits, especially dormice. These areas or coops are temporarily deer fenced to protect from browsing deer.
In 2012 the Slindon villagers planted a traditional orchard and created a meadow around the trees for all to enjoy through the seasons. The trees were purchased using donations from the village.
Whether it's coppicing, haymaking or clearing scrub, all the habitats require a little help from time to time. Without our dedicated team of volunteers, much of this would not be possible.