The Greensand Trust’s origins lie in the management of all aspects of the environment to preserve and improve the biodiversity of tracts of land along the Greensand Ridge.  Many such areas also involve public access and particularly the need to develop relationships and processes with a number of central and local government departments and other agencies.  Often the Trust has been able to provide specialist capability where others do not have the internal resources.  The Trust can provide a very economic resource to help landowners achieve their objectives.

By dint of its proven expertise, the Trust has become involved in work to develop plans for the development of Green Infrastructure (ie: public open space and access routes) in Local Area Plans, the development of open space schemes related to commercial and residential development and in the restoration of mineral workings as they cease their operationally useful life. 

Frequently there is a need to balance the disparate objectives of a wide range of interest groups so as to produce practical and sustainable land use and operation.  Many objectives can only be achieved by the establishment of partnerships between various bodies. Often the innate worth of a piece of land for either biodiversity or public access can be greatly enhanced by its integrated management with other parcels in the same area.  Similarly responsibilities for statutory liability or general management, such as river clearance, can be simplified where the Trust acts as agents for all the adjacent landowners.

This work has given the Trust a wide range of skills and capabilities which it now uses to assist various public, private and commercial bodies in the management of their land.  Different ownership / management models are in place at different sites and the Trust’s involvement can be tailored to suit local needs.  A range of services are available from which landowners can choose appropriately.

The Trust has its own specialists who can survey land and identify important species and landscape features that merit preservation, or present opportunities for development.   Where it does not have a particular in-house skill or capacity, it also has an established network of other contacts to easily provide a quality product.

Management Planning: 
The Trusts wide experience can develop the basis of survey into a management plan for the plot of land defining short-, medium- and long-term objectives and the means by which they can be achieve and then maintained.  Such proposals can unlock Stewardship and other sources of grant funding for a landowner.  The Trust can assist with the preparation and submission of Stewardship applications or, if required, submit the application on the landowner’s behalf.

Land Management: 
The Trust can carry out all or part of the necessary operations required to fulfil the objectives set out in the Management Plan, or to achieve landowner’s own objectives or individual tasks, particularly where these requirements fit in with a wider geographic objective.  An example of this latter work could be the pollarding and restoration of rare Black Poplar throughout a river valley network.

Warden / Ranger Services: 
The Trust has established systems for the regular patrolling of land and for related ancillary services such as water risk and H&S assessment.  These can be combined with services to manage land and remedy defects notified, or issues can purely be referred back to the land owner for attention by internal or contracted staff.

Public Management: 
The Trust has a long experience with dealing with the public.  This includes the formal and informal consultation activities, working to help create local interest groups and managing the disparate aspirations of different groups so as to develop practical, sustainable and unified objectives.  Work in developing management plans for sites includes the influencing of desire lines and access routes such that people can enjoy the open space whist being steered away from points with particular sensitivities.  The Trust also manages groups of volunteers, channelling efforts towards agreed objectives and developing a local sense of ownership to help reduce unwanted behaviour, whilst providing a safe and supervised operating environment working to agreed principles.  The Trust also manages horse and cycling permit schemes, tailored to specific needs, for various landowners who wish to allow such access but require appropriate pubic liability insurance and other controls.

Information and Educational Services: 
In addition to Ranger Services dealing with local groups and the general public on a day-to-day basis, the Trust also designs and provides site and location specific interpretation panels and leaflets to a high professional standard.  It also develops educational material in conjunction with schools to provide more interest in the environmental elements of the National Curriculum.  Additional practical and ‘fun’ activities can help local groups experience the countryside and understand the impact of their behaviour upon it.

Partnership Operating: 
Much work in this area requires the co-operation of a wide range of landowners, organisations and agencies.  The Trust can provide an independent secretariat and management service to help the partnership run smoothly.

Project Management: 
Often individual bodies lack the resource to dedicate to the management of a specific project.  The Trust has managed a number of projects, creating new bridges and access routes and opening new areas of open space, obtaining the necessary authorisations from the planning, highways, Environment Agency and other such bodies.

Possible Operating Frameworks:
Most services can be provided on the basis of a simple exchange of correspondence or agreed relationship and this is more than adequate for individual surveys or other pieces of work.  Many developments however require longer term mutual commitment and thus require some form of contract or licence to operate.  Where development involves a close relationship between the Trust and the land unit some form of lease will be desirable.  Such security of tenure, for a minimum defined period, is essential to access any significant grant or other development funding from government, lottery or other charitable sources. In some cases landowners have decided that the sale of the land to the Trust preserves their long-term interests in a particular area and may also attract tax and other benefits.