The Steyning Downland Scheme was launched in 2007 when the Goring family decided to set aside 67 hectares (165 acres) of the Wiston Estate in the South Downs National Park for the benefit of the community, the land and its wildlife. You can read more about how it all began here.


Mission: We reconnect local people from all walks of life to our unique piece of downland, benefiting their mind, body and spirit. We create inspiring opportunities for new people to join the community through volunteering, engaging events and inclusive access, so improving this special place for wildlife and for present and future generations to enjoy.

Vision: Our vision is to create a place where all life flourishes; an inspiring flagship of local endeavour, rich in wildlife; a natural community space which is enjoyed, valued and skilfully managed by local people, from all generations and backgrounds.

We conserve the land and its wildlife, develop the local community and improve quality of life, including people's spiritual development. Our values are derived from the Christian faith and underpin all we do.

"The purpose of this project is to encourage us to learn what is happening in the local environment and act from that starting point. Particularly, we want to engage young people in understanding the world around them and how it is changing. The hope is to foster a meeting of different minds and people, coming together in the pursuit of seeing the everyday miracle of creation and being inspired to hope for the future in a slightly fractured and despairing world.”

Richard Goring, Chair of the Trustees, January 2008

Find out more about us . . .

How it all began

Learn about the origins of SDS

Read more


About Christian stewardship of the environment

Read more

Annual reports

Archive of SDS Annual reports

Read more

Meet the team

Almost everything we do is through volunteers

Read more

Our policies

Our policies - available as PDF files

Read more

Our Values

Find out what makes us tick

Read more


Our work with other organisations

Read more


Our work with local schools

Read more


Watch videos made by the volunteers

See more