The former Waterhall golf course in Brighton will become the city’s brand new South Downs nature reserve

Brighton and Hove appear set to welcome a new South Downs nature reserve on the outskirts of the city as the council responds to ongoing climate and biodiversity emergencies. The plans, which have been reviewed by councillors, will see the former Waterhall Golf Course transformed.

The Waterhall rewilding project, including surrounding land, will see 220 acres become a local nature reserve with open access plans. It comes as Brighton and Hove City Council is also working to increase biodiversity in seafront rejuvenation projects.

Deputy Chairman of the BHCC’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, Councilor Jamie Lloyd, described Waterhall as a “fantastic site of unique biodiversity”. He said: “We are thrilled to be working with so many brilliant experts to enhance the natural habitat and preserve the species-rich chalk grasslands for generations to come.

Read more: First look at Brighton Beach’s gated regeneration project from above

“We welcome the support of HLF and Changing Chalk, and with this support and the experts we need to help, Waterhall can become a haven for wildlife and within easy reach of all residents of Brighton and Hove.”

The former site of the golf club is between Devil’s Dyke and the Withdean area of ​​Brighton. Re-wilding the course includes plans already underway to bring National Trust cattle to Saddlescombe Farm from next month.

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The nature reserve will be on the grounds of the former Waterhall golf course

The renewed efforts to increase biodiversity come as evidence suggests local species, including dormice and adder populations, are already in decline. To support this, it was recommended that the site be designated as a “dog control area”.

Carbon neutral funding has been secured for the project to cover the costs of fencing and water supply, funding from the National Heritage Lottery under the Changing Chalk Partnership is also ongoing.

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