Almost £8 million raised in 6 months for The Wildlife Trusts’ nature recovery plans

10 new projects contribute to 30% of land for nature by 2030

Sir David Attenborough backs new phase of 30 by 30 ambition

The Wildlife Trusts have raised almost £8 million just six months after launching their 30 by 30 ambition to kickstart nature’s recovery across 30% of land by 2030. Funds will buy land to provide new homes for wildlife and allow nature to thrive in increasing abundance across wilder, joined-up places. The plan is to reverse decades of steep wildlife declines and threats to the natural world.

Today The Wildlife Trusts unveil ten new projects which are contributing to the drive to help nature fight back – including converting an ex-golf course into an urban oasis for bees and butterflies, turning degraded arable land into heathland, securing a future for historic wildflower meadows and rewilding a village.

Sir David Attenborough and members of the public are backing the call for 30 by 30 – The Wildlife Trusts have been humbled by the way in which the crusade has caught the popular imagination. People want change.

Sir David Attenborough, President Emeritus of The Wildlife Trusts, says: 

“If given a chance – nature is capable of extraordinary recovery. The Wildlife Trusts’ campaign to secure 30 per cent of our land and sea for nature’s recovery by 2030 offers us the vision and level of ambition that is urgently needed to reverse the loss of nature, and so improve all our lives.

“We are facing a global extinction crisis which has implications for every one of us. It’s tempting to assume that the loss of wildlife and wild places is a problem that’s happening on the other side of the world. The truth is that the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries on the planet and the situation is getting worse.”

The Wildlife Trusts’ new schemes are additions to a growing list of nature recovery projects that will put new land aside for nature as well as repair and link-up existing, fragmented, wild areas to enable wildlife to move around – some of these are still fundraising. The aim is to bring nature everywhere Including to the places where people live. The new schemes include:

  1. Transforming 42-acre ex-golf course in Carlisle into an urban bee and butterfly oasis
  2. Restoring 95 acres arable fields back to heathland for nature in Worcestershire
  3. Reviving ice-age ponds and expanding heathland across 140 acres, Norfolk
  4. Quadrupling a nature reserve to help the rare marsh fritillary butterfly, Wiltshire
  5. Breathing life into 20 urban nature areas to benefit people and wildlife, Tyne & Wear
  6. Piloting eco-friendly ‘Naturehoods’ by creating habitats in Lincolnshire communities
  7. Securing a future for 14 acres of rare wildflower meadows in Herefordshire
  8. Improving 30 acres historic northern hay meadows for wildflowers in Cumbria
  9. Buying 12 fabulous acres of unsprayed fields for yellow mountain pansy, Shropshire
  10. Managing traditional Rhos pasture for butterfly conservation, Radnorshire

The call has inspired ordinary people to support individual Wildlife Trusts. Of the £8 million total raised so far, over £900,000 has been given by members of the public. These include:

Fiona McKenna – a keen conservationist, is striding out to raise at least £1000 for Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. In May, she will cover 147 miles in 12 days, discovering the projects which are going to bring back wildlife and put 30 by 30 into practice.  

Joe Oldaker – a keen rambler in Warwickshire, Joe has donated £1000 for the Wildlife Trust’s 30 by 30 Nature Recovery Fund because, he says, “I don’t see the common wildflowers, birds or butterflies I saw as a boy.”

Terry Moore de Caslou – a chef who found himself furloughed due to the pandemic, turned to nature photography and is donating money from the sale of his wildlife photographs to Shropshire Wildlife Trust.

Lynne Farrell – a botanist who offered financial support and plant recording skills to help the hay meadows at Bowber Head when she heard they were to be restored. It brought together personal and professional passions and she felt it was the right time to act.

When Craig Bennett became chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts exactly a year ago, his pledge was to “get our nature back.” Since then, he has launched the 30 by 30 ambition and pioneered the concept of Wildbelt, a new designation to protect land in recovery for nature.

Craig Bennett says:

“The alarming decline in the abundance of wildlife and the plight of species under threat means we need to act more quickly than ever before. Just protecting the nature we have left is not enough; we need to put nature into recovery, and to do so at scale and with urgency. We need to transform nature-poor areas into new nature-rich places – and change the way we think about land, looking for opportunities to help nature outside traditional nature reserves.

“We’ve been inspired and humbled by the level of public support for our vision. The restrictions imposed by the pandemic have shown how much people need nature to be present where they live and work and not just in far-off places for visiting on special occasions. Making space of local nature is more vital than ever.” 

Editor's Notes

Why putting 30% into recovery is our target

Our campaign takes its lead from The UN  Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This is an agreement between countries based on natural and biological resources, with 3 main goals: to protect biodiversity; to use biodiversity without destroying it; and, to share any benefits from genetic diversity equally. The CBD has proposed that at least 30% of the world’s land and seas should be protected in the next decade to prevent the destruction of the planet’s biodiversity, as part of a global framework to protect the Earth’s plant and wildlife.

The 30% threshold of wildlife habitat in a landscape has been worked out by looking at a range of different species and their requirements. At less than 30% cover, habitat patches are too small and isolated, and species richness (the number of species in any one area), abundance and survival rates decline. This is what has led to the UK becoming one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth.  Where habitat cover is greater than 30% habitat patches will, on average, be larger and the distance between patches will typically be less, resulting in greater connectivity.  This means that if local extinctions do occur, other populations of the same species can move into the area easily.

Super Supporters

The 30 by 30 call has inspired ordinary people to support Wildlife Trusts. For example:

Fiona McKenna is striding out on a sponsored walk to raise at least £1000 for Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. In May, she will cover 147 miles in 12 days, discovering the projects which are going to bring back wildlife and put 30 by 30 into practice.  Fiona says: 

“Lincolnshire is home to really cool wildlife, beautiful landscapes, and incredible people who look after it all. During lockdown wildlife has been here for us when we needed it most, but now nature needs our help more than ever; we need more special places for both wildlife and people.

“That’s why I’m doing the walk to support my local Trust, which has always been a big part of my life. I’ve got precious early memories of getting up close and personal with nature at Whisby Nature Reserve, pond dipping and chasing insects at Snipe Dales on a school trip and then volunteering with them as an adult.” 

In Warwickshire keen rambler Joe Oldaker, has donated £1000 for the Wildlife Trust’s 30 by 30 Nature Recovery Fund and says: 

“My regular rambles and wildflower photography take me to beautiful areas of our countryside, but I’ve realised that as the years have gone on, I don’t see the common wildflowers, birds or butterflies I saw as a boy. Hearing skylarks is unusual now, the flocks of lapwings aren’t there anymore, hedges vanish, copses and wild corners are cleared, ponds filled in and we’ve got prairie-like monoculture fields.

“All this loss wakes me up to the whole issue of declining biodiversity, and the importance of not just joined-up thinking, but a joined-up landscape. We need more wildlife and more land which supports nature.”

When chef Terry Moore de Caslou found himself furloughed due to the pandemic, he turned to nature photography.  Terry is donating money from the sale of his wildlife photographs to Shropshire Wildlife Trust. He says: “I swapped chef’s whites for camouflage clothes, upgraded my camera kit and instead of creative cooking started on creative and stunning landscape and wildlife photography.

“Embracing nature has helped me to relax and focus, and I’ve enjoyed the exercise, particularly on my favourite walks around Stiperstones on Wenlock Edge.  Whether it’s waiting for a green woodpecker to land or watching fallow deer, I just need to step outside to reap the rewards, which is why I decided to support Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s efforts to ensure there’ more land and more space for nature.”

When Lynne Farrell discovered the hay meadows at Bowber Head were to be restored, it brought together personal and professional passions and she felt it was the right time to act. She knew Helga Frankland, part of the Frankland family, who gifted Bowber Head Farm to Cumbria Wildlife Trust; wildflowers are Lynne’s passion, she is President of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland.

She says: “Being a botanist I was particularly interested in the wonderful flower-rich hay meadows, which I know are still declining. So, I offered not only financial support to help restore them, but also my plant recording skills for the future.

“During lockdown there wasn’t much to spend money on, I could have bought a car, but realised I’d prefer to help ‘buy’ nature’s future, so I matched my donation to the idea of 30% of land for nature

“I’m also a botanical artist but have recently been painting some of the inspiring Wildlife Trust reserves, which has made me realise even more how we depend on nature and how we need to help it thrive.”

Wildlife Trust Case Studies

1.Transforming 42-acre ex-golf course in Carlisle into an urban bee and butterfly oasis

Cumbria Wildlife Trust

A former city centre golf course is getting a wild make-over to create a new urban oasis for bees and butterflies.  The Wildlife Trust is working with owners Carlisle City Council to remove the existing golf infrastructure, with plans for wildflower rich meadows and wetland scrapes.  In the autumn around 1,200 native pollinator friendly flowering trees and 300 native flowering shrubs will be planted in and around the existing wooded areas to improve diversity and increase their overall area.

When play stopped at the former Swifts golf course, the 42-acre (17 ha) site became a green space for local people. With funding from Cumbria Waste Management Environment Trust and the Environment Agency, fairways are being transformed into a nature rich home for vital pollinators. Find out more about the project here. Get Cumbria Buzzing

2.Restoring 95 acres arable fields back to heathland for nature in Worcestershire

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust

The hornet robberfly, pantaloon bee, and minotaur beetle are just some of the extraordinary and nationally important wildlife that live on rare patches of heathland, cared for by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. Over the last 200 years Worcestershire has lost more than 90% of its precious heathland. Now in an ambitious plan, the Trust has the chance to create one huge 300-acre heathland by restoring arable fields at Dropping Well Farm. Historically this land was once heathland and, long term, it could be once again. 

Dropping Well Farm is the missing link that connects four surrounding nature reserves; a bigger, better and more joined up landscape for nature will allow endangered wildlife to spread out and thrive.  Heathland-loving plants thrive in poor quality soil, so restoration plans for this year focus on removing nutrients, including planting flower rich field margins with a ‘bumble-bird’ mix for insects in summer and bird seed during winter, improving soil health and water infiltration.

Dropping Well Farm will provide an extra 95 acres ( 40.5 ha) for nature, and sits adjacent to The Devils Spittleful & Blackstone Farm Fields nature reserves, which include mature heathland;  and Rifle Range and Burlish Top nature reserves, owned by Wyre District Council. Working in partnership, all these wild sites would together form a landscape scale heathland.

The Trust is waiting to hear news of an application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is asking for donations to help fund the purchase and long-term management.

3.Reviving ice-age ponds and expanding heathland across 140 acres, Norfolk

Norfolk Wildlife Trust -Thompson Common  

The Brecks host a huge proportion of UK threatened species, 58 of them associated with the pingos of Thompson Common. There are more than 400 of these Ice Age pools, which support much rare and threatened wildlife including dragonflies, aquatic snails, England’s rarest amphibian the northern pool frog, and many rare water plants.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust has the chance to buy 140 acres of adjacent arable fields and woodland to protect more space for wildlife, recreate rare habitats which have been lost, allow wildlife to move across connected habitats and protect Thompson Common — one of Norfolk’s most exceptional natural sites — against future vulnerability.

Work will focus on restoring ghost pingos, which have already been identified by geo spatial mapping, and reinstating the thriving Breckland grass heath known to be present in the 18th century. Taking this land back to its past, will actually increase its resilience in the future.

The Trust needs £625,625 to buy the land, thanks to an exceptional legacy gift, they are now raising the last £200,000 bringing the land – including 20.3 hectares of SSSI woodland – into the Trust’s protection. Thompson Common Appeal here.

4.Quadrupling a nature reserve to help the rare marsh fritillary butterfly, Wiltshire

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust recently bought 44 acres of land at Upper Minety, in the north of the county which will quadruple the size of the Trust’s existing nature reserve at Emmett Hill with its wildflower hay meadows, extending vital habitat for one of Europe’s rarest butterflies, the marsh fritillary. This year blue devil’s-bit scabious, the preferred food of marsh fritillary caterpillars will be introduced to the new site, with plant plugs and seed from freshly cut hay from another nature reserve where devil’s bit scabious thrives.  This is the first step in supporting the butterfly’s long-term recovery. By raising almost just over £49,000 the Trust unlocked almost £443,000 of funding from Biffa Award, which gives grants for environmental projects across the UK.

Donate to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust here

5.Breathing life into 20 urban nature areas to benefit people and wildlife, Tyne & Wear

Durham Wildlife Trust  

Healing Nature is one of the first environmental projects to be awarded a grant from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Durham Wildlife Trust has been awarded £407,300 to carry out vital work on 20 urban sites in Gateshead, Sunderland and South Tyneside, and bring communities closer to nature on their doorstep. Regionally important wildlife including the dingy skipper butterfly, skylark, water vole, otter, and wading birds will benefit from wide-ranging project to create a healthier future for wildlife. The Wildlife Trust is partnering with local councils in Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland who own the sites and who are contributing £69,500 in funding for capital works.  Volunteers and new staff and trainees will look after woodland, undertake pond restoration, grassland management, scrub clearance, and planting hedges, connecting spaces for wildlife. Read more here  blog and sites here. Donate here

6. Piloting eco-friendly ‘Naturehoods’ by creating habitats in Lincolnshire communities

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Naturehoods – A pilot working with local people in Baston village to put more nature into the village, with hedgehog highways, bee lines for pollinators and wildflowers on road verges and church yards. Work will start this year, having already done ecological baseline surveys. The project is also going to create a ‘how to’ manual and hopes to spread the concept to other communities. Workin with Baston parish council, Lincolnshire County Council and Lincolnshire Community Volunteer Service. More here

Super supporter Fiona McKenna

Sew for dough: Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Communications Officer, Jade Oliver, plans on making an embroidery of 30 Lincolnshire plants, inspired by the Love Lincs Plants project. Embroidery hoops will be sold on an online craft store and profits generated will be donated to the 30 by 30 campaign.

Lincolnshire appeal here.

7. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust – Securing a future for 14 acres of rare wildflower meadows in Herefordshire

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust is raising £200,000 to restore a precious hay meadow increasing wildflowers to boost numbers of the wood white butterfly and offering a home to plants like the bog pimpernel, sneezewort and flixweed in the wet areas of the meadow. At 14 acres, the lowland pasture of Ail Meadow is close to several other nature reserves, meadows and woodlands, and will become a steppingstone to other wildlife friendly patches of land creating a nature network.  Land purchase appeal here.

8. Cumbria Wildlife Trust - Improving 30 acres historic northern hay meadows for wildflowers in Cumbria

Bowber Head Farm is a truly rare place, where wildflowers grow much as they would have done 100 years ago. The internationally important Northern Hay meadows, with an exceptionally high proportion of flowers to grass, were gifted to the care of Cumbria Wildlife Trust last year. Here great burnet, and lady’s mantle grow in profusion; with the Trust hoping to encourage more northern specialities like wood crane’s-bill, melancholy thistle, and saw-wort

The Wildlife Trust is plug planting and using ‘green hay’ to redistribute seeds around these precious 30 acres (12 ha) to restore them to top condition following a decline in the quality of the grasslands over the last 20 years.  From late June to mid-July visitors will have the opportunity to see the hay meadows in full bloom.  (coronavirus guidelines permitting) Bowber Head Farm, near Ravenstonedale. Read more here  Support restoring Bowber Head here

Super supporter: Lynne Farrell

9.  Shropshire Wildlife Trust - Buying 12 fabulous acres of unsprayed fields for yellow mountain pansy, Shropshire

Restoring land for nature around the iconic Stiperstones ridge. The Trust raised money to purchase 12 acres of important and unimproved acid grasslands above Tankerville, which will enable harebells, yellow mountain pansies, stonechats and skylarks to thrive. Now it needs funds to help manage the land and conserve its wildlife and traditional character.  More here.

Super supporter Terry Moore de Caslou

10.Radnorshire Wildlife Trust - Restoring traditional Rhos pasture for butterflies

Rhos pasture, which is marshy grassland, was traditionally species rich grasses and rushes, manged through grazing, supporting important populations of small pearl-bordered fritillary and in the past, marsh fritillary butterfly. Today Rhos pasture is concentrated within a few areas of Wales. Radnorshire Wildlife Trust is carrying out surveys and offering landowner advice to improve management and bring back biodiversity to this significant grassland.

More here   Donate to Radnorshire Wildlife Trust here

Coming soon...

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust new £1.5 m appeal to buy land for wildlife. 

Last week Warwickshire Wildlife Trust launched a £1.5 million public appeal to fund more space for nature by identifying the right land for purchase, near to their existing nature reserves; creating wildlife corridors and bigger, better and more joined up landscapes allowing animals like the endangered water vole to spread and thrive.  The money will match £1.5 million that the Trust have already put into their nature Recovery fund thanks to recent donations and legacies. Support the Trust here

Super supporter: Joe Oldaker

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