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The Trust was formed in 1983 by a number of environmentally concerned residents of Graffham with the co-operation of a local landowner. The current Trustees have continued with the original objectives and are managing the initial area and several extensions.

The objectives of the Trust include
  • preserving and re-establishing areas of open downland interspersed with trees and scrub on Graffham Down and in the neighbourhood of Graffham, to try to preserve and to re-introduce species of flora and wildlife which have been indigenous to Graffham and the neighbourhood and which are or may be in danger of extinction or substantial diminution in numbers
  • to allow residents of the Parish of Graffham and others free access, but on foot only, to open downland
  • to hold any land demised to the Trustees and to acquire further pieces of land
  • to raise, collect and borrow sums of money for the purpose of purchasing or leasing further land
  • providing funds for fencing, improvement, planting, cutting, grazing and maintenance of any such land
Initially one small area of land just to the south of the South Downs Way, now known as LONG MEADOW, was involved. Some ten years later, two adjacent areas to the north were added and these are now known as BOWLEY'S FIELD and SCOTT'S CORNER in memory of two of the original Trustees.

In the autumn of 2005 the Sustainable Development Fund and a Chichester District Council Biodiversity Grant made some funds available to help make a start on clearing further areas of scrub and larger trees. This created a much longer corridor of open land stretching from existing farmed land in the east to the boundary with Heyshott Parish in the west, a distance of just over one mile. This brings the total area under our management to 31 hectares.

Able-bodied friends of the Trust carry out much of the maintenance work, on 'workdays' in spring and autumn, but other heavier work is undertaken by professional contractors. In the autumn a small flock of sheep is introduced to graze the reserves in a natural way.

As a result of our active management, we are seeing increasing varieties of wildflowers and butterflies appearing each year as well as evidence of deer, badger and other wildlife. To encourage people to become aware of these reserves and the progress we are making, we have a 'Picnic Day' at the top in the summer and an annual lecture on a related topic in the village. Two newsletters are distributed to Friends of the Trust, one in the spring and the other in the autumn.