The National Trust held a drop-in session in January to share with residents their plans for the land round Winchelsea which is in their ownership.

Anyone who thought that the National Trust had plans for a rewilding involving rootling pigs, bison and the occasional wolf will have either been disappointed or relieved.

At a drop-in session in the New Hall in January 2023, staff and experts from the Trust outlined their thoughts about the ways in which the Winchelsea landscape could be better managed for nature. Plans are still in development with details and costings not yet completed.

The main change would see the disappearance of the sheep that have featured so strongly over so many years.  The idea is that substantial parts of the Trust’s land holding will be grazed by pedigree cattle, less intensively, to allow the flora to regenerate and create better habitat for birds and wildlife.

Further down the Brede Valley, the proposal is for a substantial area where water levels are allowed to rise and more scrubland and wetland allowed to develop.

In the town, the long field that runs south from Truncheons to the St John’s Hospital ruins would be transformed into a wildflower meadow.

There was some concern expressed about how cattle grazing and dog walking would fit together, and some of those who had farmed the land over the years seemed not to be entirely convinced that the suggested proposals would produce the desired results.

Nonetheless, the general feeling expressed in conversations around the hall seemed to be that changes to make the land more nature-friendly had to be a good thing.