Wildlife charities raise GBP8m to boost nature schemes across England and Wales

Wildlife charities raise GBP8m to boost nature schemes across England and Wales

Projects to transform a former golf course for nature, rewild a village and restore ice age “ghost” ponds are among schemes being launched to boost wildlife across England and Wales.

The Wildlife Trusts coalition has over the past year unveiled 10 new projects, which also include restoring arable fields to heathland, improving wildflower meadows and quadrupling the size of a nature reserve to help a rare butterfly.

The trusts have raised almost GBP8m since launching a campaign to help nature recover across 30% of land by 2030 six months ago, including GBP900,000 from the public.

The attempt to reverse declines over recent decades is backed by the broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who said: “If given a chance, nature is capable of extraordinary recovery.

“The Wildlife Trusts’ campaign to secure 30% 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.”

Attenborough warned: “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.”

Trees in a pond in Sunderland

The Wildlife Trusts chief executive, Craig Bennett, said: “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.”

The new projects by the coalition of wildlife groups, some of which are still fundraising to help them deliver the schemes, are:

  • Transforming a 17-hectare (42-acre) ex-golf course in Carlisle into an urban bee and butterfly oasis, by removing golf infrastructure, creating wildflower-rich meadows and wetland scrapes and planting trees and shrubs – Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

  • Restoring 38 hectares of arable fields back to heathland in Worcestershire to connect four surrounding nature reserves and provide home to wildlife including the hornet robberfly and minotaur bee – Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.

  • Reviving ice age ghost “pingo” ponds and expanding heathland across 140 acres of arable fields and woodland by Thompson Common, Norfolk, to support rare wildlife including the northern pool frog – Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

  • Quadrupling a nature reserve at Emmett Hill, Wiltshire, to help the rare marsh fritillary butterfly, with the purchase of 44 acres of land at Upper Minety and plans to introduce blue devil’s-bit scabious plant, which is the insect’s preferred food source – Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

  • A project in 20 urban sites in Gateshead, Sunderland and South Tyneside to look after woodland, restore ponds, manage grasslands, clear scrub and plant hedges to help wildlife and bring people closer to nature on their doorsteps – Durham Wildlife Trust.

  • A pilot working with local people in Baston village, Lincolnshire, to put more nature into the village through hedgehog highways, “bee lines” for pollinators and wildflowers on road verges and in churchyards, with hopes to spread the concept to other communities – Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

  • Raising GBP200,000 to restore the 6-hectare Ail Meadow, Herefordshire, increasing wildflowers to boost numbers of the wood white butterfly, providing a home for species such as bog pimpernel, and a stepping stone between other nature sites – Herefordshire Wildlife Trust.

  • Improving 12 hectares of hay meadows at Bowber Head farm, near Ravenstonedale, Cumbria, to restore them to top condition and encourage more northern specialities such as wood crane’s-bill, melancholy thistle, and saw-wort – Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

  • Restoring 5 hectares of unsprayed fields around the Stiperstones ridge, above Tankerville, Shropshire, to allow harebells, yellow mountain pansies, stonechats and skylarks to thrive – Shropshire Wildlife Trust.

  • Restoring Rhos pasture, with surveys and advice for landowners to help bring back biodiversity to this grassland that supports small pearl-bordered fritillary and in the past, marsh fritillary butterflies, but which is now concentrated in a few areas of Wales – Radnorshire Wildlife Trust.