Announcing Nature 2020

Nature2020 is a year of events and activities to celebrate and highlight the natural environment of The Living Coast, Brighton and Lewes Downs local biosphere reserve.

The Nature2020 programme aims to raise awareness of, and connect people to, the environment we live and work in. They have a calendar of events at

The official launch of Nature2020 takes place on Friday, January 31, 2020 from 11:00 to 15:00 – meet at Saltdean Library and walk to Brighton Marina along Undercliff Path by the chalk cliffs Site of Special Scientific Interest. Register for this event.

More about Nature2020



Three new historical plaques for Lewes

Three new historic plaques went up in Lewes recently to highlight buildings of historical interest, thanks to Lewes Town Council and the Friends of Lewes.

The three can be found on Lewes House (on School Hill), the former council offices on Fisher Street, and on 43 Cliffe High Street. The first two buildings were designed by the Lewes architect Rowland Hawke Halls, and the third marks where Dame Grace Kimmins, founder of what is now the Chailey Heritage Foundation lived as a child in the 1870s.

The Lewes Town Council and the Friends of Lewes have installed more than 70 plaques across the town to highlight the histories of buildings that may be unknown to visitors or residents.

For the full list, see our Historical Plaques web page.

Grace Kimmins and Lewes plaque
Grace Kimmins and the new plaque on 43 Cliffe High Street

If you have suggestions for other locations where a plaque should be installed, please contact the Friends of Lewes at


Sustainable Energy Generation in a Historic Town – talk by OVESCO’s Chris Rowland, Wednesday 29 January 2020, 7:45pm

Chris Rowland: The opportunities and challenges of generating alternative energy in the historic town of Lewes

How do we address the need to take climate change action while preserving Lewes’ historic architecture and streetscapes? What are the town’s options to reduce and/or offset its carbon emissions?

Chris Rowland, Director of OVESCO (Ouse Valley Energy Supply Company), will discuss the challenges involved in making the UK’s older buildings housing stock highly energy efficient in response to climate change. Chris will cover current planning policy, with a focus on solar panel planning and the challenges of an historic town like Lewes.

Solar panels installed by OVESCO at Priory School, Lewes
Image from David Hicks article on ResearchGate

Venue: Lecture Room, Lewes Town Hall (Fisher Street entrance)

Entry: Free for Friends of Lewes members, £3 for non-members

Wine and juice can be purchased in the interval

See the Diary page for a list of  forthcoming events organised by the Friends of Lewes


Friends of Lewes aims to Keep Lewes Special

We have set these goals for 2020:

  • we will influence relevant policy makers at national, regional and local levels in areas like housing and transport
  • work with others to promote and protect the vitality of businesses in Lewes
  • protect our Conservation Areas
  • encourage developers to adopt carbon neutral and other ecologically sound innovations
  • increase tree canopy cover in Lewes
  • mitigate risks resulting from climate change by collaborating with other Lewes-based groups
  • learn and seek support from civic societies nationally

If you share these aims, become a member and we can tackle this together.

Join Us

Our 2020 Goals in full

More about the Friends of Lewes

Tree planting at Cross Way, Nevill, Lewes
Community tree planting in Cross Way, the Nevill, in November 2019


Friends of Lewes plant street trees for National Trees Week

On Sunday 24th November 2019 the Trees Committee of Friends of Lewes, and friends and family, were able to celebrate National Trees Week by planting seven more street trees in Lewes.

Tree planting at Cross Way, Nevill, LewesWe began in Prince Edwards Road where we planted a white Hawthorn, (Crataegus monogyna), a Hornbeam, (Carpinus betulus), and a Wild Cherry, (Prunus avium). This project was in response to a request from three of the residents, who have each “adopted” a tree to help to look after them.

After watering the trees in, we moved on to the green in Cross Way, on the Nevill. There we planted four more trees, two at each end of the green, to allow plenty of room for play space between them. The trees chosen, following consultations with nearby residents, were: a Wild Cherry, (Prunus avium), a Hornbeam, (Carpinus betulus), a Rowan, (Sorbus aucuparia), and an Ornamental Pear, (Pyrus calleryana “Chanticleer”). (Click on image to enlarge)

Nevill Residents’ Association not only asked for some trees here, but they also donated £300 to us so that we might be able to plant some more around Nevill in the future.

If you have a green space or verge near your home, and you would like us to plant a tree there, please do not hesitate to contact us. We investigate all requests to try to gain planting permission from the landowners. You may contact us using the form at the bottom of our Lewes Urban Arboretum web page.


Lewes District Council Lottery

To meet our vision of “Keeping our Town Special” Friends of Lewes has a long and effective record of conserving and enhancing the key aspects of our town: its history, distinctive buildings and the natural environment. We are very grateful for the continued support of members in helping us to meet our goals. To continue with these objectives, we are hoping to raise new funds through the recently launched Lewes District Council, (LDC), online lottery.

This lottery is set up specifically to support local good causes: 60p from each £1 ticket bought will be shared, through LDC grants, to charitable and voluntary groups in Lewes District. If you nominate a particular good cause, 50p for each ticket will be donated to them, with 10p given to a communal “pot” for distribution by LDC.

We are pleased to tell you that Friends of Lewes has been accepted by LDC as one of these good causes. You may now go directly to our page on the lottery website and select Friends of Lewes as your nominated charity:

We are initially asking for funds to help us with our projects working together with Lewes residents and other local groups, to improve our environment by planting more trees around Lewes. Our i-Tree Eco Survey of the town reveals that our current tree canopy cover is 11.5% – and the recommendations for urban settings are at least 20%. We would like your help so that we can make Lewes a sustainable “town in the trees” for future generations: offering the benefits of shade, shelter, flood prevention, carbon storage and sequestration, improved air quality, wildlife habitats and seasonal beauty.

Thank you for your support and good luck!

Lewes District Local Lottery image


Friends of Lewes comments in response to the South Downs National Park Authority’s consultation on their draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

South Downs National Park Authority is consulting on the draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The SPD provides further guidance to support the implementation of South Downs Local Plan policies, in particular Policy SD28: Affordable Homes, and Policy SD29: Rural Exception Sites. The SPD therefore supports Local Plan Objective 8: To protect and provide for the social and economic wellbeing of National Park communities supporting local jobs, affordable homes and local facilities. It covers a number of detailed matters including: viability appraisal; financial contributions in lieu of on-site provision; vacant building credit and review mechanisms.

Once adopted, the SPD will be a material consideration for relevant planning applications.

Friends of Lewes comments in response to the South Downs National Park Authority’s consultation on their draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), November 2019 [pdf 418kb]

SDNPA Affordable Housing

Further information on the South Downs National Park Authority’s consultation on the draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document is available on the SDNPA website.