Land managers from across Surrey and the South East are exploring opportunities to develop a Local Landscape Partnership in order to improve environmental sustainability in the region.

Led by West Horsley Place Trust – the initiative was discussed at our recent conference supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

At the conference – which was attended by 60 delegates responsible for the management of large estates in Surrey, East and West Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and beyond, along with representatives from organisations including Rewilding Britain, Royal Horticultural Society, National Trust, Wildlife Aid Foundation, Surrey Wildlife Trust and Citizen Zoo – common themes were identified and discussed. High on the agenda were the particular challenges presented by water management, invasive species, climate-related hazards and economic pressures, and the benefits of a ‘joined up’ approach to management at landscape scale.

Closer collaboration would facilitate environmental sustainability more widely, enabling more effective and efficient policy and, consequently, strengthen the case for support to attract greater investment and funding. The development of a Local Landscape Partnership was proposed and welcomed as a framework for moving forward.

Yendle Barwise, Environment & Sustainability Manager, West Horsley Place Trust, said:

“We were delighted with the response to our first Environmental Estate Management conference here at West Horsley Place. It was an opportunity for knowledge exchange and another exciting step towards the development of long-term partnerships with landowners, land managers, and environmentalists, for sustainable land management at scale.”

“As a young charity, we are in the early years of a journey to create an innovative model of an historic estate, fit for the 21st century. We’ve been inspired by large estates that have taken necessarily bold approaches for conservation and resilience, and we hope to inspire other landowners in turn. Our 400-acre estate has the potential to be of regional significance for biodiversity as part of a connected nature recovery network, and this will only be achieved through collaboration.”

The West Horsley Place Environmental Estate Management Conference formed part of Heritage without Barriers, a three-year programme of public consultation and activity devised by West Horsley Place Trust and delivered in collaboration with other charities and community groups exploring how, in the 21st century, an historic estate can be an inclusive, accessible and sustainable place that promotes wellbeing and inspires people to flourish. The project has received a grant of £126,000 from the Heritage Fund thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

Jo Ellison, Arts, Heritage & Learning Coordinator, West Horsley Place Trust, said:

“Protecting the environment is at the heart of our charity’s vision for West Horsley Place and the conference was a great way to build on partnerships we have developed through this programme. Last year, over 250 people took part in our first BioBlitz event, which was supported by Surrey Wildlife Trust, Wildlife Aid and local wildlife recording groups. We look forward to holding similar events in the future.”

“This conference was the first of a series concerning 21st Century Heritage, sharing what we’ve learnt over the last two years and learning from others who are delivering interesting programmes. Future events will explore themes including health, wellbeing and access at heritage sites along with heritage restoration as a wonderful way to bring communities together and to develop new skills.”

“On behalf of West Horsley Place Trust, thank you National Lottery players and the Heritage Fund for making this transformative project possible.”