Bid to save wildlife gets boost from lottery

Schools encouraged to sign up to survey

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AN AMBITIOUS project to restore rare heathland on the South Downs has received lottery funding.

Almost £50,000 has been awarded to the South Downs National Park from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The cash will help pay for habitat surveys ahead of an application for more funding to carry out the project.

The heaths of the South Downs are home to rare wildlife – such as the sand lizard and silver-studded blue butterfly – but are currently under threat.

An area the size of 1,200 football pitches will be restored under the plan.

Margaret Paren, chairwoman of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: ‘Less than 10 per cent of former heathland remains in the South Downs today and what’s left is fragmented, reducing the diversity of plants and animals that make heaths so interesting and scientifically important. The heath at Woolmer Forest, for example, is the only place in England where you can find all 12 of our native reptiles and amphibians.’