The Sussex coast is one of the last strongholds of the elm tree

Millions of elms were wiped out by Dutch elm disease but the Sussex coast has the largest number left in Britain. This exceptional tree has been used throughout our history and supports lots of rare wildlife. But the elms here are underthreat too.

Ulmus Maritime is a project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund to help protect the elms, regenerate the population and raise awareness of this exceptional feature of the Sussex landscape. Find out more on the About page.

You can help protect this exceptional elm heritage and find out more through workshops, events, new technology, participating in the Friends group or caring for an elm sapling.

Ulmus Maritime is run by The Conservation Foundation and supported by East Sussex County Council.

Download the "Elm Heritage of the Sussex Coast" booklet (PDF)

Covering the history and current situation of DED in the UK and Sussex. If you enjoyed the book, a donation is very welcome to support the Sussex elms.

Be social, share your elm pictures, ideas & stories

What you can do

Identify & report diseased elms

Find out how to spot an elm tree and signs of disease. Report using a phone app, online or over the phone.

Learn what to look out for

Give an elm a home

Elm saplings propagated from mature trees across the UK that seem to have resisted Dutch elm disease are available free to schools and groups, and at a small cost to individuals.

Receive an elm sapling

Events & walks

Find out more on our incredible elm heritage at Ulmus Maritime events and walks.

View calendar for listings

Spot wildlife

Find out what wildlife elms help and see what you could spot on the Sussex coast.

Visit the biodiversity page

Join the Friends

Fly the elm flag by joining the Friends group and work towards long term support for the Sussex coast elm heritage.

Find out more

Elm education

Download activity sheets and view a short film for Key Stage 2 aged children to reveal the importance of the elm tree.

Visit the education page

What's on

    Past Events

  • Ulmus Maritime Community Launch

    Saturday May 17th, 2014

    10.30am - 1.30pm

    Alfriston War Memorial Hall, BN26 5TL

    The Ulmus Maritime project will launch at a special community day in the heart of the Cuckmere Valley on Saturday 17th May. There will be a short introduction to the project and the Sussex elms with tea, before a walk to see some of the incredible elms in the area and the work that is taking place to celebrate and protect these trees. We'll then head back to the village hall. Starts 10.30am, with the walk departing at 11.30am. Refreshments included. Please wear suitable clothes for the guided walk.

  • The Green Circle Network

    Saturday June 7th, 2014

    10am - 4pm

    St John's Park, Burgess Hill

    Join us at the Green Circle Network in St John's Park, Burgess Hill, to find out more about the incredible elms, try out some activities for all the family, and find out more about the Ulmus Maritime project.

  • Sussex Festival of Nature

    Sunday June 22nd, 2014

    11am - 5pm

    Stanmer Park, Brighton

    Ulmus Maritime will be at the Sussex Festival of Nature in Brighton. Find out more about our amazing elms, join in with family activities and learn how you can help the Sussex elm heritage.

  • Alfriston Summer Festival

    Saturday August 23rd, 2014

    From 1pm

    Alfriston Tye, BN26 5TL

    The Ulmus Maritime project will be at the Alfriston Summer Fair on Saturday August 23rd from 1pm. Find out more on how you can take part in protecting the area's important elm landscape and how to find out more, including through walks. The Festival runs 22nd - 25th.

  • Bentley Woodfair

    September 26th, 27th & 28th, 2014

    9.30am - 5pm

    Bentley Country Park, Halland

    The project will be at this year's Bentley Woodfair. East Sussex's Dutch elm disease officer Anthony Becvar will be speaking on the Friday and more information on the project and activities to introduce all the family to the elms will be available at the weekend.

  • Seed Collecting Day

    Late May 2015


    Friston Forest

    Ulmus Maritime is helping Kew's Millenium Seed Bank with their UK National Tree Seed Project by collecting elm seeds in the Sussex area. If you can spare a day in May 2015 to help collect the seeds, establishing a national tree seed collection for long term conservation and research, let us know!

  • Ulmus Maritime Exhibition

    June 8th - 22nd 2015

    10.30 - 3.30, 7 days a week

    St Peter's Church, Preston Park, Brighton

    Find out more on the incredible elm tree heritage of the Sussex coast's landscape at the Ulmus Maritime exhibition in St Peter's church, Preston Park (next to Preston Manor). You can also view Keith Pettit's elm memorial sculpture near the "Preston Twins" English elms in the park. Find out more here.

  • Elm symposium: The protection and legacy of our elm heritage

    Friday June 12th, 2015

    10am - 5pm

    Preston Park, Brighton

    The protection and legacy of our elm heritage is a one-day symposium on the importance of the elm, control measures for DED, and research into resistant varieties. Registration is free but essential. Please contact

  • Brighton Elm Walk

    Thursday June 11th, 2015


    Brighton War Memorial, Old Steine

    Local elm expert Peter Bourne will be leading a walk up Lewes Road valley to look at some of Brighton's incredible elm trees and the rare species we hold.

  • Hove Elm Walk

    Saturday June 13th, 2015


    Hove Town Hall

    Local elm expert Peter Bourne will be leading a walk to see some of Hove's rare and special elm trees.

  • Sussex artist elm crafting demonstration

    November 29th, 2015

    2pm - 4pm

    New Wing, Somerset House, London

    As part of the elm heritage installation at Somerset House, Sussex artist Keith Pettit will reveal the art of carving in elm wood. The wood’s unique qualities has lent it to many uses throughout Britain's history, including our first water pipes, and in contemporary crafts and art, including by Henry Moore. Demonstrating letter carving, Keith will explain the unique qualities of elm wood, and the work he does in East Sussex, the last bastion of the elm tree.