Our work at Slindon

Project
The Slindon Ranger team sitting on the frame for the Littlewood Lookout at Northwood

The 3500 acre Slindon Estate consists of woodland, farmland, downland and picturesque village, all connected by 25 miles of footpaths and bridleways. All of this is cared for by tenant farmers, and our tireless team of rangers and volunteers. We’re a versatile bunch. One day you’ll see us picking litter or cleaning a sink and the next leading a guided walk, cutting down a tree or repairing a gate. Our strength is in our differences, but we have in common our strong affection for Slindon, the South Downs and a pleasure in working in the countryside.

Changing with the seasons

Spring

Volunteers planting a new hedgerow in spring
Volunteers planting a new hedgerow in spring
Volunteers planting a new hedgerow in spring

This is a time of year to tie up the loose ends of the winter work, like finishing hedge planting or deer fencing the coppice coops. We also begin a period of focusing on the 25 plus miles of public rights of way that cover the estate. Repairs are made to gates, stiles and benches and we start to mow paths to keep them free from vegetation.

Summer

Slindon has a thriving population of dormice in the beautiful woodland
An orange yellow coloured dormouse is held gently in a warden's hand and peers over with its large dark eyes.
Slindon has a thriving population of dormice in the beautiful woodland

The butterfly, dormice, small mammal and bat surveys are now in full swing. We continue our path work and start the presentation mowing of our car parks and high visitor areas. As the summer draws to a close we begin to take a hay cut from the small meadows dotted across the estate to keep the nutrients low and the wild flowers plentiful.

Autumn

Volunteers make a big contribution to countryside conservation.
killerton countryside volunteer fire bash burn
Volunteers make a big contribution to countryside conservation.

As the leaves start to fall a busy period of work begins on the estate, particularly in the woods. Whether it's thinning, creating glades, widening rides or copping, it gives us an excuse for a fire. Most weekends over the autumn and winter, we'll have a group that will stay in our basecamp in return for a weekend's work.

Winter

Hoare frost on Bignor Top
Trees covered in hoare frost
Hoare frost on Bignor Top

Our woodland work is at its peak, with coppicing in full swing, and we turn our attention towards the many hedges. You might see us coppicing a hedge to achieve more vigour or find us planting up the gaps. This is a good time to see ancient archaeology as we mow the barrows and banks in preparation for the coming spring.

Events, guided walks and talks

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As well as maintaining this beautiful traditional Sussex estate, we like nothing better than to show it off. We run a programme of guided walk and events, and we hold talks for interested groups.

The Rise of Northwood

Staff and volunteers help with planting tree saplings at Northwood
Staff and volunteers planting tree saplings at Northwood
Staff and volunteers help with planting tree saplings at Northwood

Learn about our exciting woodland creation project, which aims to return 75 hectares (185 acres) of arable fields back to their pre- First World War wooded landscape and is the largest the National Trust has ever taken on.  Find out more about the project

Latest updates

15 Feb 19

A room with a view at Northwood

This week we put up two barn owl boxes, just in time before these birds of prey start looking for their nesting sites. These triangular boxes are best situated in mature trees, isolated in a hedgerow or on the woodland edge. Ideally the tree needs to have few or no low branches and be close to rough grassland. Northwood is the perfect location - The wood pasture fields are saturated with the barn owls favourite rodent on the menu – the field vole. However, they also prey on bank voles, shrews, mice, rats and small birds. After their numbers fell dramatically during the 20th Century, Britain's barn owl population is beginning to recover. Much of that is thanks to the work of conservationists providing safe places for breeding pairs to raise their young. Barn owls are cavity nesting birds; they don’t create their own nest holes and often use hollow trees. By installing these boxes we can mimic a natural nesting site and encourage these birds into our boxes. By doing so, we will then be able to monitor and record their breeding success. They often lay their eggs as early as March so fingers crossed our boxes will have lodgers in soon, we’ll keep you posted.

A barn owl box in winter