The Rise of Northwood project

A family helps to plant a tree in an open field, lit from behind by bright autumn sunlight.

Nestled within Slindon Estate stands Northwood. Much of this woodland was felled and ploughed during the two World Wars and then farmed up until 2013. Parts of Northwood remain wooded, however these pockets of ancient woodland are generally small and disconnected from each other, isolating much of the wildlife. We want to return this land back to a wooded landscape connecting up the woods that were cut off from each other. By returning the 75 hectares of land back to woodland it will connect up to a much larger block of woodland of around 600 hectares in a historically wooded area. If you can imagine the scale of 100 full sized football pitches, that’s the area we’re turning back into woodland.

Why are we doing this?

Northwood was once a vast area of ancient woodland.  During the First and Second World Wars there was a huge demand for timber but Britain was no longer able to rely on imported wood.  The trees of Northwood were felled to support the war effort and used for trench reinforcement and pit props, as well as building material. During the Second World War, Northwood was ploughed and farmed to help support British food production.  Small areas of surrounding woodland became isolated and associated wildlife disappeared as the area was then used for agricultural production until 2013.  The project at Northwood will help recreate this special landscape and encourage wildlife to return and visitors to explore, making this a place for all to enjoy for generations to come.

How is this all possible?

The Rise of Northwood project only exists thanks to the kind generosity of a gentleman named Mr Springthorpe Hunt.  He loved the South Downs and was particularly interested in the creation of woodland – with this in mind; he left a bequest to the National Trust.  To acknowledge his incredible gift, we will be naming an area of the woodland after his family.  The project has also been part funded through a grant from the Forestry Commission.

Getting involved

Whether it’s in the winter when we’re planting trees or in the summer carrying out wildlife surveys, we’re always in need of willing volunteers to help us in Northwood. Keep an eye on our website for upcoming events, or join us for one of our monthly practical task days.  No experience is needed, you can learn as you go. Give this new woodland a little helping hand and become part of the Northwood legacy.


Come and discover Northwood for yourself – stroll through fields full of tree saplings, dip in and out of ancient woodland, sweep along grassy verges and watch Northwood begin to rise right in front of your eyes.  The project area is located 1.5 miles north of Slindon, West Sussex and is accessible by a network of public footpaths and public bridleways. We have also opened up some permissive pathways directly through Northwood to allow you to explore it even further. Limited parking is available at the end of Nore Wood Lane.  If you fancy a longer walk, park up at Slindon Village and just walk down the lane, or download our walks trail.  Don’t forget to stop off at The Forge village shop/café at the end for a well-deserved slice of cake.