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Pounds for Ponds Fund

Are you a landowner or manager, or representative of an area in the South Downs National Park who may be interested in creating or re-establishing a pond or dew pond as wildlife habitat and watering hole for livestock?

Water bodies provide a biodiverse habitat for a multitude of species with ponds supporting around 70 per cent of all freshwater species found in lowland landscapes in the UK.

Dew ponds are synonymous with the chalk grassland of the South Downs, historically being dug by farmers as a watering hole for livestock and some dating back several hundred years. Over many decades and due to changes in farming practices, dozens of these wildlife oases have fallen into disrepair or been lost completely.

Image of a re-established dew pond at Chantry hill on the South Downs Way.
Re-established dew pond at Chantry Hill on the South Downs Waycredit SDNPA

With climate change bringing hotter, drier summers, ponds have an increasingly critical role to play in providing habitat and sources of water for wildlife.

The “Pounds for Ponds” initiative is seeking to invest around £1m to create and restore 100 ponds across Hampshire and Sussex before 2030.

What does Pounds for Ponds fund?

This funding will support land owners, land managers and/or community organisations to create and manage ponds better for biodiversity.

Grants of up to £25,000 will be made towards capital expenditure. Applications will be judged on their proposed outcomes for biodiversity, value for money, ongoing management of the site as well as community outcomes.

What it does not cover

It will not fund organisational costs, training, transport, work already undertaken, recoverable VAT or costs associated with fulfilling a statutory obligation or planning consent.

Sites must be within the South Downs National Park. Check here: Do I live in the National Park? – South Downs National Park Authority.

Who can submit an Expression of Interest?

Local Authorities, Parish Councils, CICs, charities, and constituted voluntary groups can apply.

Applications from commercial partners and private land owners will be considered where projects are not-for-profit and show demonstrable commitment through cash or labour/management contributions. Projects with community benefit are more likely to be successful.

You will need to be the person/organisation who owns or is responsible for the site, or apply with their permission.

The next round of funding will open for Expressions of Interest in March 2024. Please do get in touch with the Grants Officer if you would like to be notified.

How to submit an Expression of Interest

Please read the Pounds for Ponds guidance document, which sets out the criteria and process in more detail.

If you have any questions about the process please contact Grants Officer on 07471 997344.

Pounds for Ponds Guidance document

The Application Form will be made available when the fund opens in March 2024.

Map showing the first set of projects to have received funding in the Pounds for Ponds initiative in the South Downs National Park.

Need Inspiration?

The dew pond at Chantry Hill, south of Storrington in West Sussex, had become dried out and overgrown. The pond, adjacent to the South Downs Way, was last restored some 30 years ago.

Restoration of the dew pond took place in 2023 and included clearance of choking vegetation, relining the pond, installing new appropriate pond plants and protective fencing.

It will now offer significant opportunities for biodiversity enhancement and offer good public engagement benefit via users of the South Downs Way.

Four images showing the progress in the restoration of Chantry Hill dew pond on the South Downs Way. 1. Before, 2. Relined, 3. Fencing and planting, 4. After.
Restoration progress at the Chantry Hill dew pond – credit SDNPA

Pounds for Ponds is made possible with special thanks to our supporters

  • The many individuals who have donated
  • Froglife
  • National Lottery Heritage Fund
  • BMW

How to Donate

Help us to support more pond restorations.


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