The Warren Timeline

1937: The Warren gifted to the Parish

Responsibility for maintenance given to the Parish Council

c1949: The Wace Plantation established north east of The Warren.

The area clear felled and planted with beech and some ash trees.

Faster growing ash seedlings allowed to out-compete beech saplings

to late 1990’s:  Woodland maintained by community volunteers

Various episodes of felling e.g. in 1955 and in 1982, when 55 mature beech & 8 mature ash trees were felled.

By late 1990’s lack of volunteers lead to lack of maintenance for some 20 years. With no thinning and no removal of new seedlings, ash becomes by far the most dominant tree species in the Warren.

Aug 2017:  Council commission first ‘Leaf On’ Tree survey

Evidence of ash dieback in The Warren and ace Plantation.  Tr

Feb 2018: Second tree hazard survey undertaken

Spread of ash dieback confirmed. Further seven ash trees identified as at risk tagged for felling

Jun 2018:  Woodland Trust conduct survey of The Warren

The Woodland Trust offer to survey and report on the Warren as part of its grant-funded Ancient Woodland Restoration Project.  Report not received until December 2018

Dec 2018: Woodland Trust report received.  

Ash dieback identified as single largest threat to The Warren. The report also notes that a Forestry Commission (FC) approved woodland management plan (WMP) would be beneficial to the long-term management of the Warren. Format of a WMP is standardised by the FC; approval triggers an application for a felling licence

Apr 2019: Petra Billings, chartered ecologist, appointed to produce the recommended WMP

Jun 2019: Third tree hazard survey undertaken

All ash trees affected by dieback. Verbal recommendation received to fell all ash trees as soon as possible due to increased risk of harm to members of public accessing footpaths and to traffic on B2146.

Written report received 3rd July

20 Jun 2019: Council agrees ash felling in latter part of September if possible

11 Jul 2019: Council appoint felling contractor

Euroforest appointed to carry out ash removal and other works highlighted in the hazard report.

Timber and brash to be removed and sold to a bio-mass facility to cover the cost of the operation

16 Jul 2019: Council approved Woodland Management Plan

Jul 2019: Felling licence application commenced. Ash dieback notices posted in South Gardens and the Warren warning of danger and of intention to fell

27 Sep 2019: Felling licence issued

Licence issued 4-5 weeks late than expected due to an admin issue at the FC.

Slot with contractor lost as a result of the delay

18 Oct 2019: Tree felling work begins

Coincides with one of the wettest autumn in decades

11 Dec 2019: Tree felling Completed

Delay caused by long lead-time for essential power outage at northern end of the Warren

19 Dec 2019: Council appoint Petra Billings

Brief to create planting scheme and apply for a Forestry Commission grant

20 Dec 2019: Footpaths through the Warren closed

Public access closed for 6 months for public safety and to allow recovery


Winter 19/20: High winds and tree felling contribute to loss of several beech trees

6th Feb 2020: The beginning of replanting

Instigated by regional Programme Manager of Forestry Commission, representatives from Tree Council, DEFRA, Network Rail, FC and SDNPA plant 445 trees & shrubs at the southern end of the Warren.

Mar 2020: Grant application submitted to The Tree Council

Petra Billings provides essential information and planting plan in grant application to the Tree Council.  Grants funded by Network Rail

19 Mar 2020: Decision taken to install deer fencing

Parish Council agree to install temporary deer fencing around the Warren to protect sapling trees, avoid costly plastic tree guards and to protect regeneration of other wild fauna.

23 Mar 2020: Covid-19 Lockdown prevents public discussion

Covid-19 lockdown prevents Annual Parish Meeting and opportunity for discussion of the Warren

June 2020: Footpath through The Warren re-opened

Euroforest undertake re-profiling work on footpaths. Large brash remnants gathered for planned future burning.

Aug 2020: Information leaflet distributed

Leaflet delivered to every household outlining the work carried out in the Warren and the future restoration project. Request for ‘Harting Tree Champion’ volunteers

Sep 2020: Tree Council award grant of £32,179.00 

Grant will cover the entire cost of replanting including deer fencing.  West Sussex County Council confirm that footpaths now in acceptable condition.  Ground work to prepare for installation of fencing carried out

Oct 2020: Public meeting held online

Ongoing recruitment of Harting Tree Champions

Nov/Dec 2020: Planting days planned

Aim to plant over 3500 tree and shrub saplings.  Planting days to be hosted by South Downs National Park using volunteers from the community and professionals

21/22: Start of ongoing woodland management

Community volunteers working with professional guidance to protect the regeneration and diversity in The Warren. Additional and replacement planting to be carried out during the winter of 2021/22