How we are run

Get to know us a little better

Andy Rouse/2020VISION

How we are run

The Wildlife Trusts is a movement made up of 46 Wildlife Trusts: independent charities who all share a mission to create living landscapes and living seas and a society where nature matters.

Each Wildlife Trust is a member of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT) which is a registered charity in its own right, founded in 1912. 

Together the 46 Trusts and RSWT are known as The Wildlife Trusts.

The central charity’s role is to ensure a strong voice for wildlife at a UK and England level and to lead the development of the movement.

There are thirty-seven Trusts in England, five in Wales, a Trust for Scotland and a Trust for Northern Ireland. There are also Trusts in Alderney and the Isle of Man. Each of the Wildlife Trusts is a registered charity.

Den building the wildlife trust

Helena Dolby for Sheffield WT

Our Honorary Officers


HRH The Prince of Wales

President Emeritus

Sir David Attenborough OM CH CVO CBE FRS
Simon King OBE

Vice Presidents

Prof Chris Baines
Nick Baker
Ellie Harrison
Prof David Macdonald CBE DSc FRS
Bill Oddie OBE
Sir Robert Worcester KBE DL
Julian Pettifer OBE


Peta Foxall

Chief Executive

Stephanie Hilborne OBE

Our governance

The Wildlife Trusts’ Council is the leadership group for collective strategy in the movement.  It has direct governance responsibility for the central charity.

TWT Council has a Chair, Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary, eight leaders from within the movement and two other Trustees. There are currently twelve trustees as there is one vacancy.  You can meet them below.

Trustees are elected at a General Meeting in accordance with our Royal Charter and Bye Laws. As a registered charity, our activities are regulated by the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

Meet the team

Our Council

Peta Foxall, Chair

Peta Foxall

Peta Foxall

Peta has extensive experience of leading and working in multi-professional teams, primarily within the NHS and Russell Group Universities. She is a biomedical scientist by professional training and has a PhD in biological chemistry awarded by the University of London. She has been a member of Devon Wildlife Trust since 2003, joined the Board of Trustees in 2010 and became its Chair in December 2016. Peta owns a small ancient woodland in Devon and encourages the development of gardens as natural habitats.

Genevieve Landricombe, Honorary Treasurer

Genevieve comes from the Royal Bank of Scotland.  She has had numerous senior operational roles in traditional, global financial institutions. Her recent roles include chairing executive committees to strengthen Resilience and Security measures. In her non-profit work she is on her Parish Finance Committee and was the Treasurer of the Lambeth charity 'Inspiring Children Through Arts and Spanish'.  She works with school children in Science and Literacy, encouraging them to engage with and notice their environment. She and her husband spend their free time cajoling their four children out for wildlife walks and swims.

Stewart Goshawk, Honorary Secretary

Stewart is Chair of Essex WT, a post he has held since September 2016, having become a trustee in early 2012.  An "Essex boy" born and bred, he brings many years of experience in charity management and governance. His full-time day job is as the Chief Executive of the Wembley National Stadium Trust, a grant-making charity which he helped establish six years ago. Over the years, he built relationships with many of the country's leading environmental organisations and was one of the founder members of the Environmental Funders Network. Stewart is also a trustee of the Landfill Communities Fund distributor in South Essex.

Ruth Sutherland

Ruth took up post as Chief Executive of Samaritans on 3 August 2015.  Ruth began her career as a Registered General Nurse but has spent the majority of her career in public health roles gaining degrees in Social Policy and Health Promotion.  Ruth was the founding Director of the Community Development and Health Network, a charitable membership network committed to addressing inequalities in health and wellbeing, based in Northern Ireland.  Prior to joining Samaritans Ruth was the CEO of Relate and prior to that Ruth held senior executive leadership roles at Rethink, Alzheimer’s Society and Scope.

Steve Garland

Steve began a museum career as a natural sciences curator in Sheffield after securing a Biology degree at York. He retired as Head of Museums & Archives in Bolton in 2007, going on to freelance in the museums and heritage sector across England, mostly in interim management roles. He was active in a number of regional and national museum organisations, including a period as Chair of Museums & Libraries North West. He is currently a member of the North West Heritage Lottery Fund Committee. He joined the Lancashire, Manchester and N Merseyside WT in 1986, became a Trustee and became Chair in 2014. He is an enthusiastic general naturalist with specialist knowledge of entomology and bats and has a burning desire to share his knowledge. He is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and of the Museums Association. Other than his passion for wildlife, Steve enjoys hill-climbing (only 26 Munros to go), photography, gardening, cycling, cooking, tennis and rock music.

Peter Young

Peter has spent his entire career working on environmental issues since the late 1970s, mainly in multi-disciplinary environmental management consulting.  Until 2015 he was a member of the Green Economy Council, and Defra's Regulatory Challenge Panel and Ecosystems Markets Task Force. Peter is an individual member of Aldersgate Group, having been a Founding Director and Chair from 2007 to 2015. He is a Trustee of the Green Purposes Company, which holds a special share to keep the Green Investment Group true to its green investment purposes.  He is chair of the Business Interest Group for the Valuing Nature Programme, and a member of the Programme Advisory Board. Peter is also on the advisory board for the School of Business and Management at Queen Mary College, London, and the British Standards Institute on sustainability. He is an alumnus of Cranfield and Edinburgh Universities and a member of Montgomeryshire and Cumbria Wildlife Trusts.

David Jordan

David is passionate about wildlife and the environment and was appointed Chair of Hampshire & IoW at the AGM in October 2016. Following a career in the National Rivers Authority and the Environment Agency, David retired from the role of Executive Director of Operations in March 2015. He has a degree in Environmental Biology and a Masters in Freshwater Ecology. David is also the Chair of Excellent Development, a charity which delivers water and soil conservation and sustainable agriculture in Africa. David tries to practice what he preaches. Owning land in Devon and in France, David has developed a wildlife lake, a wildflower meadow (with all of its difficulties!) and a thriving orchid meadow in France with land where barn owls and nightingales currently breed.

Anne Selby

Anne became Chief Executive of Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside WT in 1994, having started as Head of Conservation in 1992.  She grew the Trust from being a tiny, under-performing charity, with c.3,000 members to its current position of 28,000 members.  At the helm of Lancashire, Manchester & N Merseyside WT she has pioneered urban conservation and engagement work and led the creation of a £10m visitor centre at Brockholes. Her previous career includes the City Farm movement, British Waterways and as a Principal Officer in local government in planning and later in tourism. Current appointments include: the Forestry and Wildlife Advisory Committee (Forestry Commission), Chair of the Greater Manchester Natural Capital Group (LNP), Vice Chair of Liverpool Local Nature Partnership, Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub and the European Structural and Investment Funds Monitoring Committee.

Ian Brown

Ian retired after 30 years as a senior international director in the petroleum industry. His work experiences developed key skills in managing exploration, development and production operations in multicultural and diverse environmental and geographical regions. He has specific expertise in finance, commercial, and health and safety. He has been a member of the Trust for over 10 years, and is a regular speaker on behalf of SWT at various societies, associations and local groups. Ian chairs the Trust’s health and safety committee, is chairman of the governing board of a senior state school, chairman of South Suffolk Leisure Trust and chairman of his village meeting.

Jennifer Fulton

Jennifer worked as a consultant on EU interstate projects for several years before joining the voluntary sector as Northern Ireland  Director of Development for Citizens Advice NI & Manager of Lower Bann Partnership.  Prior to joining Ulster Wildlife she worked in local government as a change manager for Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne Borough Councils during the reform of public administration to merge the three councils.  Jennifer became Chief Executive of Ulster Wildlife in 2012. In a voluntary capacity, Jennifer is currently Vice Chair of Northern Ireland Environment Link, a Trustee of Chief Officers 3 (CO3) and sits on Lantra's NI Advisory Council.

Rob Pickford

Rob held a number of senior managerial and leadership roles in local government and with the Welsh Government. He started out as a social worker in South Wales and was latterly Director of Social Services and Children for Wales at the Welsh Government. He was a Visiting Professor at the University of South Wales and an Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University. He is now a writer about nature and landscape and is working towards and MA in Nature and Travel Writing. He is committed to protecting and promoting wildlife in Wales, supporting people to deliver citizen centred public services, walking the coasts and hills of Wales and the family organic allotment. Rob chairs Wildlife Trusts Wales as well as the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. He sits on The Big Lottery Wales Committee. 

Chief Executive

Stephanie Hilborne OBE

Stephanie Hilborne

Stephanie Hilborne 

Stephanie is Chief Executive with direct responsibility for the central charity and with a wider role to lead the movement where we speak as a collective voice and to support the development of the movement.  Stephanie has worked in the sector throughout her career. She believes passionately that nature is valuable in its own right, that it underpins our society and without daily access for everyone to the joy of wildlife the wellbeing of society as a whole will continue to be compromised.

Stephanie is a leading advocate for the need for society as a whole – government and business - to prioritise nature’s recovery and the need to reconnect people to the natural world. She brought the movement together behind the vision of Living Landscapes and went on to argue that new positive ambition was needed in our legislation.  As a result in 2009, the Labour Government established a review of landscape scale conservation: the Lawton Review led to the landmark report “Making Space for Nature” in 2010. The next stage was to win commitment to a White Paper on the Natural Environment.  This was published by the Conservative Government in 2011 and established that Party’s manifesto pledge to be “the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than it found it”.  A Treasury backlash against the environment lobby from late 2011 meant advocacy was focused on saving our existing laws and communicating the value of nature.  But Stephanie did not drop the dream of an Act that would restore our battered ecosystems and now as part of the coalition Greener UK she continues to champion the need for change. 

Stephanie has served on the Government’s Lawton Review, Forestry Panel and Smarter Environmental Regulation Review and was vice chair of the UK Green Building Council until July 2018.

Stephanie previously led Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Wildlife & Countryside Link. She has a degree and Honorary Doctorate from Bristol University, an MSc in Conservation from UCL, and was awarded an OBE in 2010 for Services to Nature Conservation.

Stephanie leads a team of around 50 staff at the centre of the movement, and is supported in this work by a strong team of Directors.

Individual Trusts' governance

Each Wildlife Trust has its own governance documents and falls within the charity laws of its own jurisdiction.

The running of the day-to-day operations of each charity, including the central charity, is delegated to a Chief Executive, responsible for the employment of staff and oversight of operations. Each Wildlife Trust has its own board of trustees. Learn more about them using the links to Trust pages below:

Charitable objectives

The movement of Wildlife Trusts grew quickly after WW2 and many Trusts shared governance documents as they formed. So whilst each Wildlife Trust is an independent charity with its own charitable objects, these are closely aligned. Each has two broad purposes: to promote the conservation and enhancement of wildlife; and to help more people to experience, understand and value the natural world.

Similarly, the charitable aims of the central charity are 'to promote the conservation and study of nature, and to educate the public in understanding and appreciating nature'.

Each of the Wildlife Trusts has its own board of Trustees. You can find out about these trustees through your own Wildlife Trust’s website. Together we have around 650 Trustees from a wide range of backgrounds.

To promote the conservation and study of nature, the promotion of research into conservation and to educate the public in understanding and appreciating nature, in the awareness of its value and in the need for conservation
The Wildlife Trusts' charitable objectives