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The Rise of Northwood

Tree and fungi on Nore Hill on the Slindon Estate, South Downs, West Sussex
Tree and fungi on Nore Hill on the Slindon Estate | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Northwood, which once stood at the heart of the Slindon Estate, was mostly cut down during WWI for timber and the land then farmed from WWII onwards. The ancient woodland left standing was small and disconnected, isolating much of the wildlife left behind. Learn how we’ve been returning Northwood to a wooded landscape over the past decade, reconnecting woods cut off from each other almost 100 years ago.

Why are we doing this?

The rise of Northwood is about turning back the clock and letting nature return. 

A hundred years ago Northwood was a great woodland with soaring beech and oak trees and an understory of hazel coppice and wild flowers. At a time of great sacrifice this land yielded timber and 20 years later grew food to feed the nation.  

Now, thanks to a generous bequest, we have the opportunity to let the woodland rise again. Not only will it reconnect isolated islands of ancient woodland and refix lost wildlife corridors, it is the perfect opportunity to connect people to their local landscape, trees, wildlife and heritage. 

On top of this wealth of benefits, the project plays its part in combatting climate change too, as the young trees capture and store carbon: a win for wildlife, people and ultimately our planet.

Path through woodland at Nore Hill on the Slindon Estate, West Sussex
Path through woodland at Nore Hill on the Slindon Estate | © National Trust Images/John Miller

How has this all been possible?

Slindon Estate received a bequest from Mr John Springthorpe-Hunt. He was a gentleman very fond of the South Downs and we’ve acknowledged his generosity by naming the community planted woodland in his memory: Springthorpe Wood.  

There’s also been the hard work and dedication from our volunteers and local community who’ve made this project the success that it is today. This includes 5,680 volunteer hours, involvement from 10 local schools with 320 educational hours, 36 engagement events and over 1,000 visitors from the surrounding area.

Additional support and funding from the Forestry Commission and Natural England have helped us to expand beyond the original scope, planting even more trees and creating wood pasture.

How you can get involved

The main tree-planting part of the project has now been completed. However, we’re always in need of volunteers to help survey and monitor Northwood and support the wider estate. Go to our volunteer page to find out more about volunteering opportunities on the Slindon Estate and how you can get involved. No experience is needed – you can learn as you go.

Sheep grazing and view to the coast from the Slindon Estate, South Downs, West Sussex
Sheep grazing on the South Downs | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Visiting Northwood

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. Permissive pathways also run directly through Northwood, allowing you to explore it even further.

Limited parking is available at the end of Nore Wood Lane so if you fancy a longer walk, park up at Slindon Village and walk down the lane or check out our Rise of Northwood Ramble Walks Trail. Don’t forget to stop off at The Forge village shop and café at the end for a well-deserved slice of cake.

Our partners

Forestry Commission

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

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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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