The Rise of Northwood

Visitors taking in views over the Rise of Northwood landscape

The story so far….

Here on the Slindon Estate, we have the exciting opportunity to return 185 acres of farmland back to its former wooded landscape over 100 years ago. If you can imagine the scale of 100 full sized football pitches, that’s the area we’re turning back into woodland.

Walkers enjoy the wide open views along the track to Little Wood
Walkers enjoy the wide open views along the track to Little Wood
Walkers enjoy the wide open views along the track to Little Wood

The project

Walking through Northwood, you find yourself surrounded by former arable fields. However, just over 100 years ago there would have been an ancient woodland here packed full of huge beech and oak trees. It’s not like this today because of a demand for timber during the First World War. 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.  Beyond this, it was continually farmed for crop and cattle fodder until September 2013 when the land was returned to National Trust to be managed.

Canadian Forestry Corp at Northwood lumber camp in First World War
Canadian Forestry Corp at Northwood lumber camp in First World War
Canadian Forestry Corp at Northwood lumber camp in First World War

A kind bequest

We must mention at this point that the ‘Rise of Northwood’ only exists thanks to the kind generosity of a gentleman named Mr John Springthorpe Hunt.  He loved the South Downs and was keen to see more thriving woodland areas – with this in mind, he left a bequest to the National Trust. To acknowledge his amazing gift, we will be naming part of the project site after his family name.  We have also gained additional funding from a Forestry Commission Woodland Creation Grant, which will help us with tree planting and after care.

Latest posts

29 Jun 18

Introducing Littlewood Lookout

If looking for a walk to enjoy this beautiful weather make Northwood your choice next week, 2– 6 July. Come and see the ranger team helping Artizans of Wood in the construction of a new round-wood timber framed building, Littlewood lookout. Located at the heart of the Rise of Northwood project it can be found alongside the public bridleway that crosses through the center of the project. This project was only possible with funding from the South Downs National Park Authority Sustainable Communities Fund.

A planning drawing showing the new lookout at Littlewood, Slindon

21 May 18

Orchid you not, April was blooming marvelous

Having started at Northwood in the depths of winter I had yet to see the true scale and beauty of this woodland creation project. On many trips around War Ag 3 deer enclosure I couldn’t quite see the 13,000 trees that have been planted by volunteers, but now wondering around, you really do get a sense of woodland rising up around you. At the start of April, the Northwood volunteers came out for a post and pre-season tidy up. Finalising all the jobs that needed doing and that had been left in the race before spring. As already mentioned our Thursday volunteers then took up the mantle of tidying up and helped to install the new noticeboard at Northwood Junction, along with a new leaflet dispenser. I was also delighted to release to the public our new Northwood’s War leaflet containing information on the First World War history surrounding Northwood. As part of our First World War centenary commemoration at Northwood we are displaying pages of the camp diary at the Noticeboard. We held our first ever Slindon Safari, where we took local visitors on a guided tour across the estate, taking in the special places including Rowes Barn, the Folly, Northwood, Gumber Farm, the cross dykes and Warren Barn. This was our chance to show off the estate and the work that we do, and allowed the locals to realise the scale of the works we do. It was a very successful day despite the grey weather around us. Northwood was then host to a few very special visitors; Hannah along with baby Bea and Twiggy came for a catch up. With Northwood in all its glory, we took them both for a walk around, to show what work has been done and what we will be doing over the next few months. It was also a chance for Hannah to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything; I’m pleased to say all’s going according to plan. The excitement continued with the construction of the final 2 tree guards, which brings our total to 27 for the winter! Thank you to the South Downs National Trust volunteers who braved a gloriously sunny Sunday to come and work hard, rather than just enjoy the weather. The final two tree guards went up without a hitch, as they say practice makes perfect. The most exciting moment for me in April has to be the discovery of the first green-winged orchid of the season and the project in the fields. It shows how strong seed banks are in that having been left for a few years these plants can emerge after being ploughed for the last 60 years. And finally for schools, I’ve been into Slindon Primary school helping out with their new forest schools programme and have helped the kids with den building as well as learning about caring for woods by making woodland sprites, or in my case a rubbish sprite.

The new noticeboard at Northwood Junction

13 Apr 18

New 'Northwood’s War' leaflet

If you go down to the woods today, be sure to stop at Northwood Junction to get your hands on our new Northwood’s War leaflet. This new leaflet contains information about the role Northwood and Eartham Wood played during the First World War. The leaflet also includes a self guided walk and map to help you explore the history of the area. A PDF copy will also be up on the Slindon Estate National Trust website soon, but in the meantime, get in touch if you’d like an electronic copy: To accompany our new leaflet we will also be displaying a different page of the Camp Diary, written by the Canadian Foresters, on our new noticeboard at Northwood Junction. Check back every 2-3 weeks for the next installment. A copy of the leaflet can be picked up from: Northwood Junction (grid ref: SU959098). Follow Top Road north down past Courthill Farm Lane, past Courthill Farm and park at Northwood Junction where the tarmac ends(informal parking area). Slindon Forge Shop and Café, Reynolds Lane, Slindon BN18 0QT.

Front cover of a diary from Northwood soliders, First World War