High Weald Rewilding

The sedimentary geology of High Weald has created the distinctive features of the landscape, hydrology, soils and vegetation. The landscape was conceived as a reversal of the ancient assart process: the legacy of transhumance that created farmsteads from dens and small-scaled wood-pasture, connected by droveways through ancient woods, gills and shaws.

The High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a landscape of considerable time-depth and international significance. In collaboration with Carmody Groarke, the landscape design was inspired by ancient management prescriptions and the possibility of integrating exciting new structures and repurposed ruins to create a landscape inherently part of the architectural expression. The topography inspired both upper dry meadow enhancement, and lower wetland cryptogamic flora, transforming open paddocks to wet woodland and reintroducing rotational coppice in the articulation of pockets of openness and enclosure. The drainage strategy, in collaboration with soil scientist Tim O'Hare, created the opportunity for biodiversity enhancement by purposefully impeding or draining the soils.


Client Private
Location High Weald, East Sussex
Date 2014-2018
Area 35ha
Trees planted 146
2018 RIBA South East Award


Landscape Architect J&L Gibbons
Architect Carmody Groarke
Engineer Stephen Evans Associates
Quantity Surveyor Quantem Consultants
Swimming Pool Clear Water Revival
Soil Scientist Tim O’Hare Associates
Landscape Management Land Management Services
Photography 1-8 © Sarah Blee | J&L Gibbons, 9-10 © www.saltwickmedia.co.uk