Home Article Count: 0
Research reports Article Count: 14
Current research Article Count: 1
AONB team Article Count: 9
We are a small, passionate team with specialist knowledge of the High Weald landscape and a strong belief in joint working at a national and local level to meet the needs of protected landscapes and their communities.
Since our establishment in 1992 we have worked collaboratively to produce the High Weald AONB Management Plan, develop an evidence base for AONB policy, guide decisions on the management of the area's special features, raise the area's profile and develop and deliver large-scale multi-disciplinary projects, such as the £3.3million Weald Forest Ridge Landscape Partnership Scheme.
The team offers expertise in:
- Multidisciplinary protected area planning and management
- Historic landscape research
- Research syntheses
- Landscape characterisation
- Landscape planning advice
- Landscape management advice
- Business strategy and project plan production
- Partnership development and management
- Grant-aid applications
- Recreation and tourism projects
- Land management projects
- Multimedia heritage interpretation and
- Website creation and maintenance.
Please note that most of us work part time and therefore we are a team of 6 full time equivalents.
News Article Count: 214
About AONBs Article Count: 6
The High Weald was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1983. It is one of 46 AONBs within Britain.
AONBs are part of a family of protected landscapes that includes National Parks and Heritage Coasts.
AONBs are designated by Government to ensure that the conservation and enhancement of the landscape is given high priority.
About us Article Count: 7
We are a strategic, specialist team that
- furthers understanding of the High Weald
- advises on its management and
- enables action to conserve it.
We work on behalf of the High Weald Joint Advisory Committee. Other partners include the Heritage Lottery Fund, Forestry Commission, Woodland Trust, RSPB and Environment Agency.
Planning advice in the High Weald Article Count: 8
What Is the High Weald AONB Unit’s Role in Planning?
The High Weald AONB Unit is funded by Defra and a partnership of the 15 local authorities covered by the High Weald to provide advice on how to conserve and enhance the AONB. The advice provided by the AONB Unit assists public bodies and statutory undertakers to meet their duty as set out in Section 85 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to have regard to the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of AONBs in making decisions that affect it.
Unlike National Park authorities, the High Weald AONB Unit is not a statutory body but an advisory one. It is not a local planning authority and the responsibility for determining planning applications remains with the 15 local authorities. The AONB Unit is not a statutory consultee on planning matters and it remains each local planning authority’s decision whether or not they seek its advice on a particular planning application.
We provide advice on how a development proposal affects the 'natural beauty' of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The High Weald AONB Management Plan defines what we mean by natural beauty in the High Weald and sets out objectives for the management of the AONB. The Plan has been endorsed by all 15 Councils with land in the High Weald and is a 'material consideration' in planning applications.
We are a small team and advice on development proposals is one of our many functions. We will therefore generally only comment on planning applications which would have a significant effect on the AONB, and normally only if that advice is requested by the Council that will determine the planning application. We have a general planning protocol with the local authorities which says how we will comment on planning applications they are deciding, and arrangements for commenting on planning policy.
We have produced an Advice Note which aims to assist all those involved in development proposals, including developers and their agents as well as members of the public, consider the impact of the proposed changes on the AONB.
It should be noted that the High Weald AONB Unit will not become involved in local campaigns against proposed developments. Its role in the planning process is simply to provide advice to the decision-maker and others involved in development proposals on how that proposal is likely to affect the 'natural beauty' of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This enables the decision-maker to have regard to that advice in making their decision.
Responsibility for Local Plans and Planning Applications
Your local District or Borough Council is responsible for preparing a Local Plan for your area and for taking decisions about most planning applications. Minerals and Waste Local Plans are prepared by the County Councils and they will also determine any planning applications for this type of development. Your Town or Parish Council may also be preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for your area.
The policies in Local and Neighbourhood Plans, together with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG), will be used to inform planning decisions. Further information about the Planning System can be accessed via the UK Government's Online Planning Portal
Contact your local District or Borough Council about making or commenting on a planning application within the AONB boundary or development which may affect the setting of the AONB.
If you are interested in what Local or Neighbourhood Plans are in place or being prepared in your area this information will be available on the website of your local District or Borough Council (search under Planning Policy).
For further information please contact:
Claire Tester MRTPI
High Weald AONB Unit
Temporary Storage Article Count: 8
Outstanding because... Article Count: 5
- It is one of the best surviving medieval landscapes in Northern Europe
- It is criss-crossed by sunken droveways
- It was the country's main iron-producing region during the Roman and Tudor periods
- It harbours gills (small, steep-sided streams) with rare plant populations not found anywhere else in eastern/central England
Producer stories Article Count: 2
Knowing more about the food and drink we buy - the people who produce it and the approach they take - can enrich our experience of purchasing and using local products. We hope our 'producer stories' provide an insight into what it takes to be a local producer in the High Weald AONB.
Things to spot Article Count: 1
A closer look at the High Weald landscape reveals a myriad of interesting features, some of which are unique to the area. If you have ever wondered about lumps and bumps in woodlands and strange concrete blocks on roadsides then this is the section for you!
Happy landscape detecting.
Crops Article Count: 9
Agriculture is the main High Weald land use, covering 65% of the area in 2007. About 60% of the farmed land is grassland and 20% is arable. Our 'Crops' on line spotters guide will help you work out how today's farmers are ensuring that the High Weald remains a productive landscape.
High Weald Species Article Count: 0
Below are some of the rarer and more interesting plant, insect and bird species that you may see if you are out and about in the area's fields, woodlands and heathlands this month.
Villages and towns Article Count: 110
Approximately 120,000 people live within the 99 parishes covered by the High Weald AONB designation. We have details here of those 99 parishes and to find out more about community life within the High Weald please select the parish of interest to access relevant local websites.
Products story Article Count: 3
Do you ever wonder how charcoal is made? or how hops are grown processed and used in flavouring in beer? This section provides the story behind the product, explaining how a raw material from the High Weald countryside is turned into a useful product.
Product information Article Count: 7
The High Weald Wilderness or forest is largely a wooded, pastoral landscape with some fruit and hop growing at its eastern end. Its main products are fruit and drink such as juice, wine and beer; coppiced timber for fencing, logs and charcoal; meat, largely beef and lamb; and dairy items.
Frant parish maps Article Count: 5
The parish of Frant lies in the North of the High Weald AONB. its landscape is typical of the High Weald. Characterised by rolling hills, scattered farmsteads, small woodlands, irregular-shaped fields, open heaths and ancient routeways.
The maps below show these five special features in the parish of Frant.
High Weald Hero Schools Article Count: 87
Luckily for the High Weald there are schools all across the area that have pledged to be High Weald Hero schools and undertake 5 actions to demonstrate their commitment to their local landscape. Click on the logos below to access education materials that are specific to High Weald Hero schools such as historic map sets and Welly Walk leaflets.
After School Club Article Count: 4
A High Weald Hero After School Club plan is now available for primary schools.
Ten themed sessions have been created to cover a term of after school programme, with indoor and outdoor activities that will help children to find out more about the High Weald and its many special features. The pack includes ideas for exploring habitats, archaeology, special guests, art work and much more. Download the plan and supporting resources below and have fun!
Welly Walks Article Count: 62
High Weald Hero schools have contributed to the creation of 52 Welly Walks. These landscape walks, starting and ending at the school gate, provide opportunities for children to learn more about their unique local landscape. The schools continue to use their walks as part of their ongoing participation in the High Weald Hero scheme; actively sharing them across the school and with their local community.
Is there a Welly Walk near you?
See below for more details of each Welly Walk and to download a leaflet with further details. For other places to walk in the High Weald visit our walking section or nature reserves.
Education Resources Article Count: 6
Historical character videos, activity cards for use as part of outdoor learning, map sets and classroom activity sheets are just some of the resources we have created to help schools use their local countryside in national curriculum work.
The resources listed on this page are available to all schools within and around the High Weald. If you have joined the High Weald Hero Partnership as a High Weald Hero School we will have supplied school-specific map sets and may also have worked with you to produce other school-specific educational material e.g. Welly walks You will find these resources on your school's page on this site.
A pdf High Weald Hero Topic Web (240 KB) is also available for further ideas on linking your lessons to the High Weald.
School learning zone Article Count: 7
Join the High Weald Heroes!
Do your pupils know how amazing their local area is? This ancient landscape is steeped in tradition, full of historical buildings, fascinating wildlife and special features and is outstandingly beautiful.
Our High Weald Hero education programme uses the rich landscape heritage of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to help KS1 and 2 children develop a life-long connection with the natural world around them.
Built around five key High Weald Hero ‘Actions’, the programme encourages schools to Find Out About; Explore; Take Care of; Be Proud of and Enjoy their local area.
As a High Weald Hero school, you will receive a tailored ‘pick and mix’ programme of curriculum-linked activities and resources – all designed and led by our Education Officer, Rachel, to suit your pupils’ needs and your timetable:
- Outdoor learning including assistance with developing your school’s very own Welly Walk – a circular walk starting and ending at the school gate, designed to help children learn more about their unique local landscape. Your Welly Walk can be used for individual classes and as a whole-school activity; many schools even share their walks with the wider community.
- Assemblies and staff training plus an attractive wooden plaque commemorating your membership of the scheme
- Educational materials including map sets of the local area and wider High Weald landscape, dvds and activity sheets
- Themed assemblies and interactive plays covering topics such as endangered High Weald habitats and local history
- Classroom-based workshops such as Stone Age handling boxes, art projects and dissecting owl pellets to learn about food chains
- Regular updates of new workshops and resources, plus access to details of organisations who can support your school in developing projects to deliver the High Weald Hero Actions
Maps Facts and Figures Article Count: 3
Maps intro goes here
Look After Article Count: 3
We all have an important part to play in caring for the High Weald's special landscape. Here are some of the things you can do to help:
- Take pride in the High Weald. Promote its special features and places
- Minimise environmental impact in your home and garden
- Support local conservation organisations
- Help monitor threatened wildlife
- Prevent the spread of invasive and harmful plant and animal species
- Manage your land to benefit the environment
- Care for your local wildlife
- Use less water
- Reduce, reuse and recycle - dispose of all litter responsibly
- Respect other users - follow the Countryside Code
- Keep your dogs under control
- Slow down for people, horses and wildlife
- Avoid using your car where possible
- Find ways of using renewable energy in your home
- Buy local produce
- Take an interest and have your say.
Management Plan Objectives Article Count: 5
High Weald character defined Article Count: 5
The approach of the Plan is underpinned by an understanding of the history of the landscape and forces that have shaped it. ‘The Making of the High Weald’ and other studies in support of this management plan have provided time-depth and objective analysis so that the management aims and priorities for the AONB are firmly based on an understanding of the fundamental and defining character of the whole area – that is, those components of natural beauty that have made the High Weald a recognizably distinct and homogenous area for at least the last 700 years and that will continue to define it in the future.
Green Champions Article Count: 5
How you can help Article Count: 6
Care of the High Weald's special landscape lies with all of us and the High Weald Charter is a guide to some the actions that can be taken to care for the area.
There are 12 actions and we hope our videos and 'Green Champion' case studies inspire you!
- Purchase local products
- Manage your land to benefit the landscape
- Prevent invasive species
- Respect other users - follow the countryside code
- Slow down for people, horses and wildlife
- Have a say
- Support local conservation organisations
- Take pride in the High Weald
- Live sustainably: use less water; reduce, reuse, recycle; avoid using the car.
Volunteering Article Count: 5
The High Weald may look natural but the area has been shaped by man over hundreds of years - and needs continued management to maintain its best features. Volunteers able to lend a helping hand with wildlife and archaeology surveys, practical management tasks and path maintenance are highly valued and the following organisations provide rewarding volunteer opportunities across the High Weald AONB.
Gatwick Greenspace Partnership
What: A range of practical conservation tasks are underataken including coppicing, hedge planting and green woodworking at various sites. There is a general volunteering programme as well as a Wildlife Rangers group for 12-16 year olds and Youth Rangers for 16-25 year olds.
When: Weekly volunteer tasks, meeting on site at 9:45am, starting at 10am and normally ending at 3pm, though some volunteers stay longer. Also able to develop bespoke events for corporate and community groups.
Where: Various locations around Crawley and Horsham
More info: www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/gatwick_greenspace/index.htm
Horsted Keynes Hackers
What: Volunteers use hand tools or strimmers to manage vegetation on rights of way. There are also opportunities to replace fingerposts, stiles and gates.
When: Every second Monday and second-to-last Friday of the month
Where: Sites are all in Horsted Keynes and include rights of way and public spaces
Kent High Weald Partnership
What: There are practical conservation projects which range from coppicing, hedgelaying, tree planting and woodland management in the winter, to survey work, meadow management, fencing, step and boardwalk construction in the summer.
When: Wednesday and Thursdays (10am to 3pm) with a mid-morning tea break and lunch at 1pm. There are usually projects one Saturday a month (10:30 – 1:30). Anyone is welcome to join in on the Wednesday and Thursday tasks. We ask that groups of 8 or more contact us beforehand as we might need to add more tools or another member of staff.
Where: 4 key sites as well as other local green spaces. These are in the Tunbridge Wells, Goudhurst and Cranbrook areas of Kent. Please visit the events calendar www.khwp.org.uk/home/events for more information on the locations and directions to site.
Kent Wildlife Trust
What: Volunteers work with Weald Warden, Matt Hayes to help with the conservation management of a number of nature reserves in the Weald area. The tasks run between different reserves, carrying out a wide range of practical conservation tasks ranging from coppicing to meadow management.
When: Every Monday. Volunteering places cannot be guaranteed so please contact for more information.
Where: It rotates between different reserves throughout the High Weald that stretch between Paddock Wood, Tenderden, Hawhurst and Goudhurst.
RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)
What: During the autumn and winter months (mid-September to mid-March) volunteers are mainly engaged in clearing scrub and small trees and coppicing. For the rest of the year (i.e. the nesting season) the work parties take on odd jobs such as pulling bracken, clearing old fencing, clearing and burning already cut rhododendron, etc. Occasionally volunteers help with public events and visitor surveys. Conservation work could lead to other volunteer opportunities, such as in species monitoring.
When: Fortnightly (weekday) or monthly (weekend) conservation work parties between the reserves, falling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Contact for details.
Where: Broadwater Warren and Tudeley Woods
Sussex Wildlife Trust
What: Opportunities to take part in a variety of practical conservation projects across east and West Sussex.
When: Projects run at different dates, times and locations. Please visit the tasks calendar on the website: http://www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/uploads/oct_%20dec2014_task_calendar.pdf
Where: Varied locations across East and West Sussex, see task calendar.
The Conservation Volunteers
What: Practical volunteering opportunities to reclaim our green spaces. There are numerous local, one-day projects with no ongoing commitment needed. Can take unaccompanied 16 and 17 year olds with prior, informed consent from a parent or guardian. Those under 16 need to be accompanied by a responsible adult.
When: Days vary depending on where you are, and projects will generally last all day. Projects from the Hastings office run on most Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.
Where: Projects are scattered throughout Kent and Sussex
East Sussex County Council
What: East Sussex County Council leads a variety of volunteer groups including for Elm protection, Seven Sisters Visitor Centre and Rights of Way groups across the county.
When: Depending on what you can commit to there are opportunities for the odd afternoon, or for training over a whole year.
Where: At various locations across East Sussex.
More info: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/environment/conservation/volunteering/default.htm
The Powdermill Trust
What: A conservation charity managing two reserves in the High Weald. Volunteers would carry out practical conservation tasks.
When: Volunteer groups meet to maintain the Rotherfield reserve on the first Wednesday and third Sunday of the month and activities at Powdermill Wood are organised on an ad hoc basis.
Where: The Powdermill Trust manages two nature reserves within the High Weald AONB, one at Rotherfield and one within Powdermill Wood which is south of Battle
More info: www.powdermilltrust.co.uk
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve (part of Sussex Wildlife Trust)
What, When, Where: Lots of different volunteer roles are available:
1. Information Centre volunteers - mornings or afternoons, Monday to Sunday. Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.
2. Workparty volunteers - summer months only. First and third Tuesdays, 10am - 3pm. Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.
3. Friends' Events volunteers - specific dates throughout the year, usually Saturday afternoons. Winchelsea Beach Community Hall.
4. Guide in a Hide volunteers - days and times to suit, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.
5. Education volunteers - specific days and times, could be at Rye Harbour, Pett Level and/or Beckley.
Horsham District Council
What: A variation of practical volunteering activities to suit most ages and activity levels
When: Ongoing and variable
Where: In and around Horsham
Ashplats Conservation Group
What: A practical conservation project started by local residents. It aims to conserve and enhance the woodland for wildlife to thrive in and people to enjoy. Volunteering opportunities are open to all.
When: The group meets on the 2nd Sunday of each month (except August when it doesn't meet, and November when it is the first Sunday). Work is done from 9.45 until 3, but volunteers are welcome to leave earlier.
Where: The 28 ha wood is part of the East Court Estate in East Grinstead.
Butterfly Conservation - Sussex
What: Most volunteer work consists of clearing scrub and opening up land to make suitable habitat for butterflies. Volunteers cut and clear shrubs and make bonfires. They may work with hand tools – bow saws and loppers – but not power tools. They need to be reasonably fit as the work is physical, and some of it takes place on steep sites on the Downs. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
When and Where: Rowland Wood, South of Uckfield, on the second Sunday of each month in winter. The session runs from 8.30 am till around lunchtime, though people are welcome to come along for as much or as little of this time as suits them. The Murray Downland Trust on their site in Heyshott, in West Sussex, on Wednesday mornings through the winter. This is a steep Downland site. There are other ad hoc meetings which are arranged as need dictates: these are published on our web site, on the events page.
Habitats that need your help:
Our projects Article Count: 8
We run a number of projects that help people: learn about the area; explore it; or take action to care of it. All the projects help achieve the objectives of the High Weald AONB Management Plan.
Funding comes from a range of sources: including the Heritage Lottery Fund, Natural England, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission and Woodland Trust as well as local authorities.
How you can help news Article Count: 1
Grants Article Count: 3
There are a few grant schemes that can help fund projects that either conserve and enhance the High Weald landscape or enable people's understanding and enjoyment of it. Some of the key schemes are listed below but there are others. If you have a project idea we are happy to provide advice on how to get your idea off the ground and may be able to provide practical support and assistance with grant-aid applications. For an informal discussion contact Gerry Sherwin.
Community projects Article Count: 0
These pages detail just some of the projects that you can get involved in. At the moment we are working with:
- local artists to promote art that is inspired by the High Weald landscape;
- accommodation providers across the area who are keen to champion what is special about the High Weald landscape to their visitors;
- landowners to highlight and seek solution to the challenges of the working the area's farmland;
- community groups to undertake archaeology surveys that further our understanding of ancient woodlands and routeways;
- the timber industry to raise awaress amongst the public of the qualities, sources and use of local timber.
Weald Woodkits Article Count: 2
Weald Woodkits is an experimental project providing support for local designers and wood using businesses to explore the potential for using underutilised local timber in everyday items offering a viable and affordable alternative to imported wood products. It aims to harness design creativity and innovation to make the most of the qualities of different local timbers.
Find out more about the project:
Find out more about woodlands in the Weald and how to manage them
Artist Interviews Article Count: 11
The High Weald has been the inspiration for several artists, each drawing on different facets of the area. Between 1810 and 1818 Joseph Mallord William Turner captured the soft folds of the High Weald landscape around Jack Fuller’s Rosehill estate, near Dallington. In the 1850s the painter F.D.Hardy ‘discovered’ Cranbrook and for a few years a small group of artists - the ‘Cranbrook’ Colony’ - used the town as the setting for meticulously studied paintings. At the same time William Holman Hunt, one of the leading Pre-Raphelite painters, worked occasionally at Winchelsea and Fairlight, capturing the colours of the coast.
Our artist interviews provide an insight into how the landscape inspires them and the techniques that they use to capture its special qualities
Promote your business using landscape Article Count: 7
Find out how you can produce a 2 minute YouTube video using the landscape of the High Weald to promote your tourism business.
These pages contain all the resources you will need to produce a promotional video. The information here is based on using the Flip Video Camera, a very cheap and simple video camera that anybody can use.
This video was filmed and editied entirely by Jane from Coopers Farm using a Flip Video Camera.
Land manager interviews Article Count: 3
As we say farewell to the first decade of a new millennium, what does the future hold for the High Weald?
The character of the landscape is essentially the same as it was 600 years ago; it is considered to be one of the best preserved medieval landscapes in Northern Europe. But will its special character be evident 600 years from now? Or will the pressures of a growing and globalised society prove too much?
As in the past, the people who live and work in the High Weald today are as much a part of its character as the landscape itself. Some of them have worked the land for decades, others are newcomers, the Anvil meets some of them to discover what, if anything, has changed during their tenure and what they think the future may hold.
Restocking the Weald Article Count: 4
The Restocking the Weald project enables the establishment of viable new livestock enterprises on under-utilised pasture across multiple land holdings. Ultimately it aims to improve the productivity and management of the High Weald, a nationally important landscape.
• assists new farm entrants/livestock enterprises find pasture
• encourages non-farming landowners to become more proactive in managing their land and
• provides practical support with aggregating land, improving infrastructure, tenure arrangements and skills mentoring and training.
Explore Article Count: 1
Places to stay Article Count: 63
There are lots of places to stay in the High Weald. Self-catering cottages and B&Bs are often located in converted farmstead buildings, such as oasthouses. Small campsites are dotted across the area and many also offer yurts, tipis, shepherd huts and treehouses as a glamping experience.
We provide introductory information on this site to help you plan your trip; you will need to visit the businesses' websites for detailed information.
Event Highlights images YOO Article Count: 1
Countryside News Article Count: 5
Activities Article Count: 11
There are many other activities you can do beyond walking and riding and visiting attractions.
You can take a boat trip from Newenden to Bodiam Castle along the River Rother; tour a vineyard; develop woodcraft and bushcraft skills; learn to bake bread; forage for mushrooms; or, for the more adventurous climb on the area's sandstone outcrops.
Walking routes Article Count: 37
Nature reserves Article Count: 56
The High Weald has numerous nature reserves owned by organisations such as the National Trust, RSPB, Woodland Trust and Forestry Commission.
The sites are free to visit and welcome the public. They have a good path network and places to stop and watch wildlife. Beyond a car park facilities tend to be limited. There is often an information board: site leaflets are best downloaded before a visit.