At Wilding Waterhall, we are working to restore rare chalk grassland, improve biodiversity and reduce the effects of climate change by rewilding a former council golf course.
Our work at Waterhall forms part of the council’s response to the climate and biodiversity emergencies. Restoring natural landscapes like Waterhall helps to capture carbon, cool the city, clean our air, reduce flood risk, and provide habitats for declining populations of local wildlife.
Rewilding means letting nature take the lead by restoring natural processes, allowing the landscape to take care of itself and become more resilient to future change.
However, rewilding is not about abandoning a site – instead, it involves active management. At Waterhall, plant-eating animals such as cows and sheep help maintain habitats by grazing on grassland and scrub.
Get involved this spring
We’ve designated Wilding Waterhall as Open Access Land, which means visitors can freely explore the site and connect with nature. See a map with Waterhall's location.
We host volunteer days at Waterhall on the second Saturday of each month. Tasks can include scrub clearance, wildflower planting and seeding, surveying for wildlife, and more.
Visit The Living Coast’s website to see other events taking place at Waterhall, including a Woof Walk for dog owners on 6 April.
Jess Mead, Education Ranger at Wilding Waterhall, said: “Waterhall is a wonderfully wild site within Brighton & Hove, giving visitors the opportunity to reconnect with nature in the city’s newest nature reserve.
“In addition to improving biodiversity and reducing the effects of climate change, Wilding Waterhall can also help improve people’s mental health and wellbeing.
“Time spent in nature can generate a multitude of positive emotions, lower depression and anxiety levels, and offer some respite from the pressures of everyday life.”
Carbon Neutral Fund
Investment from the council’s Carbon Neutral Fund has been secured to support the transformation of Wilding Waterhall. So far, funding has been used to purchase GPS cattle collars, install fencing and cattle grids, and increase water supply to the site.
Funding will also be used to create a new dew pond, purchase an electric all-terrain vehicle to allow rangers to navigate the site more easily, install new guided walking trails and improve low-carbon travel options to the site.
Changing Chalk is a partnership of organisations led by the National Trust. The partnership connects nature, people and heritage and is restoring lost landscapes and habitats, bringing history to life and offering new experiences in the outdoors.
Changing Chalk is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, players of People’s Postcode Lottery and The Linbury Trust.