What are lost woods?

Click the link to watch our film about the Lost Woods programme
Video: Lost Woods

Large areas of land across Sussex between the South Downs National Park and the High Weald used to be covered in ancient forest, but now only small pockets of woodland remain. These distinctive wooded ‘islands’ need saving. Some are under threat from development, others are damaged or forgotten. They are vulnerable to pests and diseases and threatened by the climate crisis. Our woods and trees are vital for providing homes and food for thousands of animals, birds and insects, as well as playing a huge part in helping combat climate change, including by storing carbon, regulating temperatures and reducing the impact of extreme rainfall. How will the Lost Woods programme help?
The Lost Woods programme will transform the Lost Woods of the Low Weald and Downs into “Loved Woods”, part of a thriving and resilient natural landscape. Local people and communities will be reconnected to their woodland heritage and given the skills, confidence and knowledge to enjoy, care for, and protect them long into the future.

We’ll be working with a diverse range of people from local communities and schools to conservation groups and woodland owners and managers through a range of projects which .include restoring ancient woodland and recording veteran trees, to connecting participants with local woodlands and their myths, stories and folklore.

 Who is making this happen?

Lost Wood of the Low Weald and Downs is a five-year partnership programme supported by players of the National Lottery through the National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered by Action in Rural Sussex, Small Woods Association, Sussex Wildlife Trust and Woodland Trust.


Click the lick to watch our film about AirS role in the Lost Woods Programme Click here


Lost Woods Projects

The Lost Woods Programme is made up of 19 projects with themes of Creating Resilient Landscapes, Growing Woodland Connections and Building, Skills, Confidence and Knowledge. To find out about the 9 projects  that AirS are delivering please see below.

Lost Woods Mobile Hub – creating local connections through taking information and activities to local community events such as markets, fetes and festivals


Networking for Nature – Bringing together woodland owners, conservation groups and underserved communities to form collaborations and develop activities.


Woodland Community Development –Supporting individuals and communities to develop their ideas for activities in the woods and for the woods.


Scaynes Hill Sustainability Group (SHSG) held a Dawn Chorus walk in May.  Follow the link for pictures and the lovely feedback from the day – SHSG Family Nature Trail and Dawn Chorus Walk.

Woods on Prescription –Working alongside social prescribers from GP practices to develop woodland wellbeing activities for their clients.


Getting to Know Our Woodland Wildlife. Citizen science, surveying woodland species.


Conservation for All. Practical conservation activities and skills development for people form underserved communities.


Supporting Woodland Conservation Groups. Ensuring groups can survive and thrive along with the woods they care for.


Read about the Tottington Woodlanders who are a small charity managing the hazel coppice in 13 acres of, previously neglected, ancient woodland – Tottington Woodlanders Article

Amanda Felix shares some thoughts about her lifelong experience of the woods – A Personal history of Butchers Wood

Five Ways to Family Wellbeing – supporting families from underserved communities to access woodland for fun and wellbeing.


Community Training for Woodlands. A training program to support both woodland conservation and wellbeing activities.


To find out what we did to consult with communities and development this project, please see our case studies page: Case Studies

Get involved!

We’d love to hear from you if you:

  • Work with or are part of a community group working with disadvantaged people.
  • Own or manage a small woodland.
  • Are part of a conservation group which needs support or would like to network with others.
  • Are interested in getting involved, volunteering or finding out more.

From Lost Woods to Loved Woods – our short fun guide to visiting woodlands in Sussex.  If you would like a copy to take to the woods, please send a large SAE to AirS, 16 Market Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2NB

Get the latest on all things Lost Woods at (16) Lost Woods of the Low Weald and Downs | Facebook

or email lostwoodsteam@ruralsussex.org.uk

“Supporting rural communities in Sussex to be vibrant and diverse places in which to live and work.”