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Hinton Ampner: Reimagining a Hampshire Estate

Open meadows with a tree-lined horizon and blue sky at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire
The project will create a larger and more diverse estate to explore | © National Trust

The Hinton Ampner: Reimagining a Hampshire Estate project is a long-term commitment to transforming this historic National Trust estate into a more vibrant, accessible and sustainable place where people and nature can thrive.

The main aims of the project are:

  • Nature recovery and conservation: creating diverse new habitats so wildlife can thrive
  • Regenerative farming: more environmentally friendly and sustainable practices
  • Better access to nature: larger, more varied green space with improved access
  • Involving people: volunteer opportunities, community projects and visitor engagement
  • Responding to climate change: increased carbon capture and resistance to extreme weather

The work so far

In 2021, we began converting 27 hectares of farmland into wood pasture, grassland and tree plantations. Volunteers and staff have so far planted 9,000 new trees and completed initial surveys of the wildlife on the estate. And regenerative practices are now in place to improve the soil in the fields where farming will continue.

April 2024

Latest update

Sunrise birdwatching and project progress

View of trees in the park taken from the house at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire
Views over the estate from the house at Hinton Ampner | © National Trust Images/Stephen Robson

Preserving Ralph Dutton’s vision

Ralph Stawell Dutton, the 8th Lord Sherborne, was an author, historian and collector, as well as a great supporter of the National Trust. He inherited Hinton Ampner in 1935 and left the entire estate to the Trust on his death in 1985.

Dutton was responsible for expanding the estate and using landscaping and planting to enhance the stunning views from the house over the South Downs National Park.

As the 'Reimagining' project continues, there will be a steady change to the landscape. But 300 new trees planted in the parkland will continue Dutton’s tradition of creating small copses to soften boundaries and give structure and symmetry to these magnificent views.

Hinton Ampner has a vision of creating something really quite special for people and wildlife in the South Downs National Park.

A quote by Nick HeasmanSouth Downs National Park Authority

Main aims of the 'Reimagining' project

The project has five main aims, each complementing and supporting the others. Click through to find out more about some of these key areas.

Nature recovery and conservation
Helping nature at Hinton to recover and thrive is central to the project. By planting thousands of trees, extending hedgerows and reclaiming chalk grasslands, we’ll create habitats to support a rich diversity of insects, plants and animals. We’ll track the impact this is having with regular wildlife surveys.Find out more
Regenerative farming
By restricting the use of chemicals and following regenerative farming practices, we’ll improve soil quality and reduce the impact on the wider environment. Fruit trees, wild borders in the fields and grazing by native-breed cattle will create new wildlife habitats. And our farming partner will focus on environmental rather than commercial targets.Find out more
Better access to nature for everyone
Following the retirement of Hinton's tenant farmer, we’ll use some of this land to expand the area of green space where visitors can roam, and create a richer and more varied landscape. A new circular trail, fewer fences and gates, and improved and extended paths will make nature accessible to everyone.Find out more
Involving the community and visitors
We want visitors and the local community to feel part of this project. That’s why we’ll be looking for volunteers to get involved in activities like planting trees and monitoring wildlife. We’ll also help people to connect with where their food comes from, and engage with this reciprocal relationship with the land.Find out more
Responding to climate change
Planting new woodland and hedgerows and returning commercial farmland to parkland will all help to increase the amount of carbon captured from the air. Regenerative farming practices will lock even more carbon into the soil and make the land more resilient to climate change, including by reducing the risk of flooding.

Hinton Ampner in the years to come

These artist's impressions of the skies over Hinton give an idea of the types and variety of species you might expect to see here now and as the nature conservation and sustainability aspects of the project take effect.

Artwork with birds, bats and insects flying over farmland and countryside
The landscape and wildlife of Hinton Ampner before the Reimagining project | © National Trust / Jeroen Helmer

Hinton Ampner 2023

A view of the Hinton Ampner landscape at the start of the project, and the range of wildlife in the skies above. As work continues, new and recovering habitats will help to boost both the variety of species and their numbers.

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Timeline of work so far

April 2024

Sunrise birdwatching and project progress

During April our project delivery really has begun. Nature survey volunteers have been busy out on the estate with early morning bird surveys and afternoon butterfly walks taking advantage of some glorious sunny weather despite the cold winds. Across the fields water troughs have been installed and fencing has started in earnest, we’ve several thousand metres being installed over the coming months where the perimeters of many areas are getting ready for the introduction of livestock. This includes a welcome to 1000 sheep who are happily tucking into our herbal grassland leys, this is a key component of regenerative farming, helping to boost our soil health

A field with crimson clover flowers in a green field with blue sky
Crimson Clover on the Hinton Ampner Estate | © Lee Hulin

Frequently asked questions

Konik ponies on Bakers Fen at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire

Nature conservation

From ancient trees to bees and butterflies, our places are full of life. We're working hard to safeguard nature for years to come.

Our partners

South Downs National Park Authority

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is responsible for keeping the South Downs a special place. The SDNPA is also the planning authority for the National Park.

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Natural England

Natural England is the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. They help to protect and restore our natural world.

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Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woodlands.

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