World Environment Day

05th June 2024

Today is World Environment Day and this year’s theme Generation Restoration focuses on three pivotal areas: Land Restoration, Combatting Desertification, and Enhancing Drought Resilience.

We are taking a moment to raise awareness about the critical environmental challenges that face our natural world, and to share some of the efforts we are making across Goodwood Estate to combat these challenges and preserve our beautiful landscape.

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Land Restoration: Healing and Rejuvenating Our Landscape

Our innovative pond creation project has been a remarkable success, thanks to the hard work of the Goodwood pigs. Over the last few months, these diligent animals have transformed the estate’s landscape by employing a traditional ‘gleying’ technique. This project, allows the pigs to create a natural seal for the pond by mixing layers of straw, manure, organic material, and clay. After just six weeks, the new pond displayed impressive water levels without the need for artificial liners.

The estate has dedicated areas to nature recovery; such as the Nature Reserve at Levin Down, our three SSSI sites and our rewilding area. Each site with a varying degree of management, gives nature a chance to recover, restore and reestablish functional ecosystems. For example, our rewilding site, previously a quarry, was backfilled with the soil excavated from surrounding housing development sites. It has gone from strength to strength, the bare soil is now carpeted with many botanical species from marsh grasses to teasels and supports ground nesting bird species such as snipe and lapwings, to smaller seed eating birds like goldfinches, whilst benefitting multiple pollinators. Furthermore, in less than three years of the land use change, we discovered multiple species of orchids. Not only does land restoration improve biodiversity, it also reduces the risk of flooding, soil erosion and nutrient run off, to name a few.

Our three-year hedgerow planting plan has been completed, with nearly 900 meters of hedgerow species planted across various parts of the estate and over 800m of hedgerow laid and rejuvenated. Hedgerows form the largest wildlife habitat in the UK, acting as crucial connectors between fragmented habitats. They provide sanctuary and food for a diverse array of flora and fauna, from mammals and insects to birds and bats. These green corridors also protect livestock from harsh weather and enhance soil health.


Desertification: Planting for the Future

Since 2019, our tree planting scheme has resulted in 177,550 new trees across the estate. In recent years by planting trees without tubes or stakes, the estate was able to plant up to 3,700 trees per hectare. By planting this way, we account for natural factors like deer damage, drought, or pests, ensuring the survival of most trees without relying on non-biodegradable materials. This approach has saved 27,600 plastic tree guards from being used over the past year.

In addition to tree planting, our riparian bunds help to reduce the speed in which water reaches the river, so that the river banks are able to cope during periods of high rainfall, preventing erosion, sedimentation and reducing the risk of flooding in surrounding villages. These zones connect terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, supporting their health and resilience. Our work in these areas is crucial for maintaining the delicate balance of our natural habitats.

The farm also continues to grow cover crops to improve the soil structure, reduce soil erosion, the leaching of nutrients and runoff. A cover crop will break up the ground with roots to encourage water uptake and allow water to permeate into the soil. Additionally, soils become nutrient deficient when left uncovered as they are exposed to the elements; in periods of high rainfall, the soil itself, nitrogen and other essential minerals will run off the fields contaminating local water courses. Having a cover crop retains these minerals in the soil and makes nutrients more readily available for future crops


Drought Resilience

The Goodwood Forestry team has installed rainwater harvesting systems on buildings within the forestry yard, and tenants across the estate have followed suit. This stored water will be invaluable during the dry summer months, reducing our overall water usage and helping us manage water scarcity more effectively.

Our Golf at Goodwood teams have created an ecology plan in which they highlighted ‘drought’ as an increasing risk. To combat this, the team planted drought resistant grasses across the courses ensuring resilience against climate change and reducing dependency on irrigation during summer months.

As an estate, we are proud of the steps we are taking to protect our environment and preserve the natural beauty of our landscape. Through land restoration, combatting desertification, and enhancing drought resilience, we are committed to making a positive impact on the planet for future generations.

  • sustainability

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