The High Weald is one of the most densely wooded landscapes in the country with trees covering 30% of the land area and deer are thriving in the landscape's mosaic of small fields, hedgerows and woodlands. This project is achieving more deer stalking, of a higher quality, across more land. It focuses on improving communication between advisory bodies and landowners, between neighbouring landowners, between landowners and deer stalkers, and between deer stalkers.
Stakeholder consultation on the High Weald AONB Management Plan identified deer as the greatest threat to the area’s woodlands and there is increasing evidence to suggest they are also damaging the area’s rare wildflower grasslands. Deer are also having a significant impact on the productivity of woodlands and crops and therefore business profit. The damage from and cost of deer collisions is also significant.
Since November 2018 a network of 45 stalkers has been created, practical Weald-specific guidance for landowners has been published; 6 deer neighbourhood liaison groups have been set up and 10 landowners have set up stalking agreements.