Survey – South Downs farmland bird monitoring

South Downs farmland bird monitoring


An exciting new monitoring project started in 2014 as part the South Downs Farmland Bird Initiative. The project is a collaboration between the RSPB, Natural England, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), the BTO, the South Downs Land Management Group and the Sussex and Hampshire Ornithological Societies. The project combines data from the BTO Breeding Bird Survey with additional data from randomly-distributed squares within the South Downs national park that are surveyed annually. The South Downs Farmland Bird Initiative is a wider project which involves working with farmers and landowners to provide the ‘Big 3’ for farmland birds: safe nesting areas, summer feeding areas and winter feeding areas. Focusing on lapwing, grey partridge and corn bunting, the habitat created also benefits other bird species such as skylark, linnet and yellowhammer, as well as other farmland wildlife including brown hares, rare arable plants and bumblebees. The monitoring project will hopefully help to measure the effectiveness of this work across the South Downs national park.

The available squares to be surveyed in Sussex are listed below (updated 15/12/2023), and the survey instructions are available here. If you are interested in taking on one of these squares for this project, or if you would like further information, please contact Helen Crabtree at

SU7721 Goose Green
SU8323 near Chithurst
SU8518 Bepton
SU8614 near Singleton
SU9008 Halnaker
SU9013 East Dean
SU9021 near Midhurst
SU9308 near Eartham
TQ0019 Fittleworth
TQ0907 near Clapham
TQ1109 near Findon
TQ1110 near North End
TQ4904 Firle Beacon

The available squares to be surveyed in Hampshire are:

SU4922 near Colden Common
SU4925 near Twyford
SU5419 near Upham
SU5730 Tichborne
SU5825 Kilmeston
SU6029 Cheriton Wood
SU6225 Brockwood Copse
SU6228 near Bramdean
SU6422 near West Meon
SU6516 Windmill Down
SU6526 West Meon Hut
SU6529 West Tisted
SU6617 near Chidden
SU6627 Filmore Hill
SU6828 Basing Park
SU7030 near East Tisted
SU7127 Froxfield
SU7229 near Colemore
SU7437 East Worldham
SU7741 Binsted