Adapting to Climate Change in the Ouse Valley

Here is a short film to raise interest in how long term climate change is likely to affect us in the Ouse Valley, and how we as communities might be able to do something about it by planning now.

Please take a look and pass it on to anyone you think may be interested.

The video comes from the Environment Agency’s Coastal Communities 2150 project and was made at the workshop developed for the CC2150 project by Lewes & Ouse Valley eco-nomics Group (Transition Town Lewes), as part of the Group’s Chalking up the Benefits project.

Online ecosystems course

The Open University has announced a free online course called An Introduction to Ecosystems starting on 18th November. The course description sounds very interesting:

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 15.25.00 PMIf we don’t grasp why ecosystems function, it becomes harder to determine possible reasons for when they don’t, and makes it difficult to identify possible environmental threats to humans.

The 6-week course was mentioned at the recent Annual General Meeting of L&OVe, and some of our members decided to sign up.  We plan to have a meeting in December where we will get together to discus what we have been learning and how this applies to the Lewes area.

Anybody else from the Lewes area who joins this course will be welcome to join our discussion, tentatively scheduled for the evening of 17th December. Details of the time and place will be posted here in due course.  Meanwhile, please sign up for the course here.

August update

July has been a very busy month and so was June ….. so lots to report, but also lots to look forward to as a result:

Let’s start with looking forward, eh …..?
So the News for August is:
L&OVe first ‘activity’ meeting! For those of you not going away on holiday, we hope you’ll a-LOAP with us!! we’ve organised our August meeting as (we hope?!) an activity meeting at Lewes Organic Allotment Project (LOAP). Meet at 11 a.m. on Wednesday 14 August at the top gate to LOAP (grid ref. TQ40023 11088) on the path up towards the Old Racecourse next to the track that goes up there. The idea is to work with LOAP for an hour or so and then settle down for a talk about the naturegain we’ve just experienced and start our L&OVe meeting either there on site or agree to repair to the nearest pub to meet instead. An agenda will be posted here in advance of the meeting.

MAPS! We will soon be getting maps of local naturegain. They’ll show us which areas provide our water; where are the areas of most importance for local climate regulation; where pollinators thrive; which areas nearby seem ‘natural’ – in other words, maps of ‘ecosystem services’ provided around Lewes. Here’s a sample of what the maps’ll look like – this one’s from County Durham
Access nature EcoServ eg


Once we get the maps, probably in October, we’ll need people to evaluate how realistic they are …… so we’d love people to come forward to help go out and look at the areas and make some judgements as to whether the maps are accurate – of course, we’ll need to meet first to decide what people need to look for to make this assessment and we may need some analysis of all this – anyone interested in helping?!

Volunteers, please reply here. Continue reading

June Naturegain Walk

What has Landport Bottom ever done for us? Or An Evening LOAP on top of the Bottom

Wednesday 26th June:  6-8:30 pm – with the option of continuing a ‘naturegain’ discussion in a local pub!

Southdown sheep at Landport Bottom Lewes

Southdown sheep benefitting from and bringing benefits to Landport Bottom’s grassland (Photo: Dan Ross)

Please join us for an early evening walk starting at Lewes Organic Allotment Project (LOAP) and heading off around Landport Bottom.  Experience and appreciate the benefits that the LOAP project brings with guide Sarah Rideout (who runs LOAP), not only to those who ‘garden’ there, but to the wider Lewes Community too.  We’ll then look for other benefits to Lewes residents as we emerge onto the Downs and stroll across Landport Bottom, guided by Dan Ross (who’s responsible for site management) to spot the chalk grassland wildlife delights emerging as his restoration project starts to bloom. We’ll also be looking at some of our interactions with the area and how potential future management approaches may increase the benefits to Lewes and its economy.

Colin Tingle (Lewes and Ouse Valley eco-nomics), Dan Ross (Lewes Ranger), Sarah Rideout (Common Cause Co-op) and Michael Blencowe (Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Community Wildlife Officer) will all be there to answer questions. Michael will point out wildlife features, whilst Colin will focus on the wider ‘naturegain’ from the areas we visit and enjoy.

Meet at 6 pm at the Gate into Landport Bottom Reserve near the junction between the A275 and the lane up to the Race Course (Grid ref: TQ 40246 10931).

LB walk 260613 (1)

For more information contact Colin Tingle on tc09(at) or  call Dan Ross on 01273 484408

Symbolism in the air ….. the belated Green Man

 He is made one with Nature: ………

He is a presence to be felt and known.
In darkness and in light, from herb and stone,
Spreading itself where’er that Power may move
… Which wields the world with never-wearied love,
Sustains it from beneath, and kindles it above.

from Adonais Percy Shelley



The words of Shelley back in 1821, encapsulate how the ‘Green Man’ as a symbol of nature’s processes, gives us loads (indeed underpins human and all other life on earth) ….. but what to we give in return?  We can see a parallel between the ‘Green Man’ and naturegain, in this context ….

The blues and the Green Man

Is that music I hear? or symbolism in the air?

Has anyone noticed how the ‘Green Man’ has been unusually cool this year?

green man1OK, so some people always see the ‘Green Man’ as ‘cool’,  but when he is physically cooler during his rebirth in spring than during his ‘death’ over winter, something weird is happening .……


And weird for the ‘Green Man’ as a symbol has very real implications in other colours in the natural world. Have you noticed how late the bluebells have been? ….. they’re pretty much in full flow as I write this now, but the late ‘Green Man’ re-lates to late in blue and April was less blue than usual (– but perhaps more full of the blues for those who love the warmth that usually comes with spring??!).  Looking at why takes us back to my opening lines …….

Continue reading

Photos from the April 11th L&OVe workshop

A group of 10 people gathered at the Linklater Pavilion last Friday, 11th April, to explore the connections between the local environment and the local economy.

Another workshop will be held on the 26th April.  The process for ‘going local’ is explained in this poster.

L&OVe featured in Ecosystem News

Ecosystem News No. 4The Ecosystem Knowledge Network, managed by DEFRA, is a key resource for anyone wanting to learn about the practical benefits of an ecosystems approach in the UK.  In addition to a great website, the network also has a quarterly newsletter.

Not only does Lewes feature on the front cover of the latest edition of Ecosystem News, but the newsletter includes a profile of ‘Chalking up the Benefits’, a project currently being managed be L&OVe in collaboration with the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Click on the cover image to download the newsletter, or pop over to ‘projects’ section of our website to read more about Chalking Up the Benefits.

Introducing ‘naturegain’


Lewes & Ouse Valley eco-nomics (L&OVe) is a community group formed under the umbrella of Transition Town Lewes.

Our group is looking into the benefits that the local community and the local economy gets from the local environment; benefits like pollination, water purification, flood protection and climate regulation …. to name but a few. Scientists use the term ‘ecosystem services’ to describe these benefits, but we prefer the term naturegain.  We want to identify the most important types of naturegain in the Lewes area, and work with local organisations to enhance and sustain the ecosystems that provide these services.

Our goal is to help improve local people’s wellbeing and the resilience of the local economy by promoting greater recognition of how the natural environment underpins all business and is central to community wellbeing.   We have been running workshops, organising walks, and conducting studies in cooperation with a wide range of  individuals and institutions.  Please join us!