Weald to Waves at Wiston

Creating a corridor for nature

As part of our 2017 Whole Estate Plan, we are collaborating with the South Downs National Park and other neighbouring landowners to create nature corridors across the local area. Connecting these fragmented habitats is key to mitigating a changing climate and reversing the biodiversity loss that we have experienced in the UK over the past 50 years.

weald to waves logo

Wiston Estate is a founding partner of the Weald to Waves initiative and with our work with the Steyning Downland Scheme we have already seen the proven success at habitat restoration in this area.

Weald to Waves is a network of farmers, land managers, councils, researchers, wildlife charities, schools, gardeners and community groups. Together we are establishing a nature recovery corridor from the High Weald to the Sussex coast and revived seas, encompassing over 20,000 hectares of contiguous habitat. Nature recovery requires a collective effort. The shared ambition of the partnership’s founding stakeholders, to support nature recovery through improving habitat quality and connectivity, resulted in a corridor stretching 100 miles, from the Ashdown Forest in the High Weald, following the Arun, Adur and Ouse rivers to the sea at Climping, Shoreham and Newhaven.

This area is part of the Weald to Waves corridor. The new meadowlands we are looking to create will also help to reduce severe flooding on Mouse Lane which has become a frequent occurrence in recent years. In order to renature these new habitats and to encourage the return of ground nesting birds, such as nightingales and nightjars, we will be fencing and grazing the fields at Charlton Court with conservation livestock. We will also be planting 1km of hedging alongside these fence-lines to link up corridors for nature.

W2W map, biodiversity at Wiston Estate, South Downs
Before After

In 2022 Global leaders adopted goals to halt the loss of nature and put it on a path to recovery by 2030. In November 2023 the UK government made Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) a mandatory part of all development. This initiative aims to ensure that the state of our natural environment is enhanced rather than depreciated through land development. The protection of, and improvement to, our country’s biodiversity and natural habitats is central to this scheme and underpins one of the Wiston Estate’s central goals.

Our BNG program will ensure developers can meet their requirements in a simple and safe fashion, while guaranteeing the restoration of wildflower meadows and the protection of historic downland and rare chalk grasslands, which Wiston Estate is custodian to. Our credits are 100% secure and monitored by the South Downs National Park. Partnering with Wiston Estate for your BNG will allow you to contribute to and amplify the success of these schemes and further their positive impact on all our environments.

Biodiverse Habitat Visualisation


Why is the land not being used to produce food?

Wiston Estate covers a diverse area of land and 1680 acres are still used for producing wheat, oats and barley. A further 1400 acres are used for grazing livestock. The fields being restored into meadowlands have recently been growing energy crops, as the estate is currently at maximum grain storage capacity for arable crops. So there will be no less food grown as a result of the renaturing. Our strategy is to continue to farm the parts of the estate which are the best for food and wine, while using other areas to protect and improve the natural biodiversity and ecosystems.

How will this project improve the flooding on Mouse Lane?

By converting this particular plot from agriculture to regenerated pastureland, the water run off from the slopes of the south downs will be slowed down. The improved soil structure and plant life will naturally hold and absorb a much larger quantity of water than the farmed land. Several wetland ponds are planned for this new zone, which will also hold greater quantities of water – as well as being excellent habitats for a very diverse number of species.

Why does the new area need to be fenced off?

We need to fence off the protected zone in order to allow conservation grazing. This is vital for the flora and fauna to take root and establish here and the most natural way to manage it in the long term. As part of this we hope that ground nesting birds such as nightingales, nightjars and skylarks will come back to the area.

Will the fencing not prevent wild animals from roaming freely?

The Weald to Waves corridor will be a highway for insects, birds, reptiles and small mammals – which will not be prevented from movement by these fences.

Learn more about the land...

Our Vineyards

The location, the vines, the soil

Our Vineyards

Modern enterprise in an ancient landscape, our vineyards express our love of nature. Wiston Estate’s downland is a unique environment in which winegrowing can flourish.

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The Farm

Unearthing potential

The Farm

Though we have moved from oxen to tractors, our aim remains the same: to grow food well whilst nurturing the soil on which our farming and local communities depend.

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The Land

Inspirational surroundings

The Land

As with the soil we tend, complexity and diversity are the grounding from which all else stems. Good earth is the basis we build on and its importance is paramount on the estate.

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BNG at Wiston Estate