Woolhope Dome Living Landscape

Woolhope Dome cpt Herefordshire Nature TrustWoolhope Dome cpt Herefordshire Nature Trust

The Dome is an area of distinct hills to the south-east of Hereford. A predominantly pastoral and wooded landscape, part of it lies within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Pioneering landscape-scale conservation in Herefordshire

Herefordshire Nature Trust

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The Dome has a unique geological background and for the most part, its eroded hills and valleys have not been intensively farmed. As a result, the area is a rich mosaic of ancient oak and mixed woodlands, species-rich hedgerows, wildflower meadows, traditional orchards and streams, all supporting a wealth of wildlife.

This scheme has now been completed and provides an example of best practice for other areas with similar high biodiversity value. It also fostered sympathetic tourism opportunities, making the most of the area’s natural attractions and its popularity as a walking destination.

Virtual tour by Mike McFarlane

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What's happening?

The main outcomes of this scheme have involved:

Working with key partners, farmers, and smallholders to help maintain and restore  important habitats.

Protecting existing high-value areas by introducing suitable habitat management, and then developing links and corridors to join them up.

Providing information, expertise, advice, guidance, facilitation and incentives to landowners and managers, smallholders, rural business owners and members of the community

Setting up a Sheep and Wildlife Enhancement Scheme (SWES) across 50 hectares of species-rich grassland.  The SWES provided payments for landowners for work such as stock-proof fencing and water supplies to be installed, to allow grazing to occur. It has also provided payments to enable a contracted grazier to buy-in Dexter cattle for conservation grazing on valuable grassland sites on the Dome. It continues to look for further suitable sites that will benefit from this.

Including local people by setting up training days and workshops.

Provision of grants for fencing and to help with orchard restoration and wild flower meadow creation.

Publication of the ‘Woolhope Dome Green Directory’ a useful guide to managing land and living in an environmentally-friendly way.

Supporting rural enterprise, promoting local produce – particularly that of rare breeds - to help keep the area thriving. The scheme also worked with local producers and craftspeople to develop a Woolhope Dome Local Food and Craft Market. This has been a real success and is now a regular fixture in the calendar, taking place at the Woolhope Parish Hall on the last Saturday of each month

Duration: 2001 - 2008

Scheme area: 5,000 hectares

This scheme is helping species including...

Dormouse, otter, lesser horseshoe bat, other bats, pearl-bordered fritillary, wood white and grizzled skipper butterflies, argent and sable, drab looper, and white-line snout moths.

This scheme is also...

Encouraging green tourism, providing health benefits, volunteering opportunities and skills training, producing local food.


Natural England, Forestry Commission, Wye Valley AONB

To find out more

Email: enquiries@herefordshirewt.co.uk  | Tel: 01432 356872 | Woolhope Dome Living Landscape

Living Landscapes

Find out more about our Living Landscape conservation work - targeting areas for landscape-scale nature conservation  and transforming places for people and wildlife.

Farming & wildlife

Find out more about our farmland conservation work with farmers and landowners, and on our own wildlife-friendly demonstration farms.