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Connectivity is one huge aspect of conservation and nature restoration that is often missed. We can improve small patches of habitat all we want but if they aren’t connected up with other areas it doesn’t really have a huge impact. Nature needs to be able to travel to find food and mates, which it can only do if we connect up the landscape.

A wildlife corridor is a space that connects areas of nature and acts as a link to allow wildlife to move between habitats. Our landscape in Britain is bisected by roads, towns, intensive farming and infrastructure. Wildlife corridors are needed to connect up the small pockets of habitat to stop biodiversity loss. These can vary in size considerably and can be as small as a hedgerow or a verge next to a road. Any and every way we can connect our landscape for nature is beneficial, and every person can make a difference by considering their gardens, local parks, potted plants etc.

The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, and current conservation practices are not enough to halt the loss of biodiversity. So down in Sussex the Weald to Waves project aims to try something new.


Photo by Charlie Burrell


The project started when a farmer working on the coast, James Baird, read Wilding by Isabella Tree, who is one of the owners of Knepp Rewilding Estate. He was inspired by the idea of giving land back to nature, and wanted to know if there was a way to enable his land to be a part of it too.

James was inspired by Knepp and backed by the government’s “Making Space for Nature” report in 2010, which emphasized the importance of improving connectivity between natural spaces. The report concluded that connecting habitats would be important to the survival of a whole host of UK species. James, along with the Knepp team and other local landowners, started the Weald to Waves project in 2022. Their areas of land collectively formed the first areas of the corridor with the aim to use them for nature recovery.

The Weald to Waves corridor was mapped by linking the core areas up with nature reserves and priority habitats. The gaps between them are continually plugged by people and organizations pledging their land, even just gardens, to the project. Currently the corridor stretches from Ashdown Forest in the High Weald area of Sussex along the 3 main rivers (Ouse, Arun and Adur) and out to sea to link up with the kelp restoration project run by Sussex Wildlife Trust.


Photo by Fran Anderson


There are three main aims that the project wants to achieve:

  • The first is to successfully create an 100 mile long wildlife corridor, ideally with over 20,000 hectares of land, by collaborating with communities, individuals, councils, charities and businesses in order to enable wildlife to travel through the landscape.
  • The second aim focuses on what that land will be used for. This doesn’t mean making all of it into nature reserves – because no farmers would pledge their land if they knew there would be no chance of making any money from it if they did. The project wants to promote nature as a way to provide ecosystem services including pollination, flood control, carbon sequestration and soil fertility. All of these have been covered by artificial methods but they want to show those artificial methods are unnecessary. Sustainable farming practices are encouraged as well as reducing the pollutants that make their way into soils, waterways and wildlife through artificial pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Finally the last aim is about engaging communities with the project, and encouraging education around conservation. This means that the group wants to create opportunities to be involved with the project as well as for locals to understand and enjoy natural spaces.

The landscape of Sussex used to be covered in natural habitats of wetlands, woods and grasslands broken up by farmland and small villages. It is now very much the opposite way around, with intensive agriculture and spreading urban areas meaning that the areas for wildlife are few and far between. The Weald to Waves project aims to change all of that.

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