Iford Estate Woodland Creation

Biodiversity Net Gain Units
Voluntary Biodiversity Credits

This project operates on degraded farmland within the South Downs National Park which has become unproductive and in need of regeneration. The project aims to restore the historic broadleaf woodland cover of the area, thus sequestering carbon, increasing biodiversity, and providing a home for over 1000 species and over 540 protected species in the area.

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Iford Estate view

Project information

The South Downs National Park

The Iford estate Woodland Creation project operates on degraded farmland within the South Downs National Park near Lewes, Sussex.

The project involves restoring native broadleaf woodland to degraded arable land which has become unproductive and provides little ecosystem services.

Founded in 1895, the Iford Estate started as a dairy farm, with cereals being grown at both Iford and Houndean Farm (where the project is specifically located). The Estate continued to modernise in the 60s and 70s, draining the wet marshland area known as the Brooks, in the Ouse floodplain.

The project has been designed with the wider historic landscape in mind, retaining and enhancing features of the landscape outlined in the South Downs National Park Landscape Character Assessment; as well as providing valuable habitat with the aim of enhancing biodiversity. This project is in line with many of the local targets for the area, helping to achieve the South Downs National Parks' target of 30% of the land managed for nature by 2030.

Iford Estate map


Woodland creation


Iford Estate, within the South Downs National Park, UK

Standard / methodology

BNG / DEFRA Metric 4.0

Iford Estate drawing

Project impact

Local impact


Good for Earth

The estate is home to over 1000 species and over 540 protected species. The opportunity to increase the amount of good-quality habitat available to the range of species present may increase the abundance of rare species and connect up isolated pockets of good quality habitat. This could also increase the resilience of species on site to factors such as climate change disturbance.

For this reason, the project aims  to increase the woodland cover replicating that found at the local Ashcombe Bottom site, thus increasing connectivity and providing a habitat supporting a variety of species. Ashcombe Bottom provides an important site for nightingales and other important bird species, as well as a number of rare mammal and reptile species, but is an isolated pocket of woodland in the wider landscape.

As a result, the proposed habitat plans for Houndean under this project will provide an important supporting site for the SSSI, and an opportunity for habitat expansion for many of the protected species restricted to the Ashcombe Bottom area. It will also improve carbon sequestration; reduce run-off and nitrate leaching of the site; slow the flow of water through the landscape; add to the retention and build-up of soil organic matter; as well as considerably improving the biodiversity of the area.

Iford Estate map area

Positive for people

Currently, the degraded fields at Houndean Farm do not benefit the community financially, nor through the provision of ecosystem services.

The woodland created by the project will have a variety of positive social impacts including: increasing the availability of clean air; retaining more water to mitigate drought risks; increasing the availability of clean water; reducing the hydrogeological risks associated with heavy rains; have a temperature-regulating effect and, finally; an aesthetic and social function, since the woodland will be open for the public to enjoy through a dedicated footpath.

How we assess for quality

The Earthly scoring process

project infographic