High Weald

Sandrock-at-harrisonsThe secrets of the High Weald's unique sandstone outcrops have been discovered! 

Hidden amongst the huge boulders of sandstone lie a rich archaeology, beautiful bryophytes and unusual geology,  which can be cared for together – using an integrated management approach.

We've completed a partnership project piloting how joint management of features at sandstone sites can be achieved. Culminating with a visit to Eridge Rocks with representatives from all interest groups - the project finished on a real high. We found everyone's enthusiasm and interest to learn about all aspects of sandstone so inspiring.

The project, supported by funding from Natural England, has seen specialist surveys of 6 key sandstone sites across the AONB completed.  Each sandstone site was surveyed by individual specialists, one each for its heritage, bryophytes and geological quality – and a report written by each.  Specialists were asked for management recommendations for each site.  We amalgamated and compared these to see where advice from different specialists was conflicting or complimentary.  Using this information, overall suggestions were presented to the site owners along with the original survey reports, to help them shape the future management of their site.

The High Weald is one of Europe's most important sandstone landscapes, the outcrops we see contribute enormously to its character.  These sites are unique small sites, often packed full of interesting features - prehistoric evidence, unusual species and harbouring unusual geological features.  They are iconic features along many High Weald routes and are popular amongst climbers of all abilities. This project has shown that despite having bryophyte, heritage and geological interest in one small place, management which benefits them all can still be achieved, and that careful informed management and appropriate use of these sites can help to achieve a positive outcome for the High Weald's sandstone. 

We couldn't have completed this project without these partners:

Kent Wildlife Trust

Sussex Wildlife Trust

Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre

Sussex Biological Record Centre

Sussex Geodiversity Partnership

GeoConservation Kent

The Final Project Report can be downloaded from below

icon High Weald Sandstone Project (1.3 MB)