Old Sulehay habitat protection

Old Sulehay, on the Northamptonshire/Peterborough border is a very special area of ancient woodland and limestone grassland full of flowers insects and animals, both common and scarce.

The Oolitic limestone in north Northamptonshire and Peterborough lies on the Lincolnshire limestone. With considerable ancient woodland remaining on the boulder clay areas, it is a landscape with a high concentration of sites that are already important for wildlife and is one of the few areas where a diverse mosaic of wildlife rich habitats occur next to each other. The Trust’s ultimate vision is to link 18 SSSI/NNR/CWS sites totalling 400 hectares of which this is one.

To this end Restore Our Planet’s donation was used specifically for the purchase of 3 adjoining areas: Ring Haw, Nassington Gullet and associated arable farmland in all totalling 39 hectares.

Following the purchase, two arable fields were restored to limestone grasslandusing green hay from nearby species-rich grassland. This has been incredibly succesful and the fields are now managed by grazing using the Wildlife Trust’s own Highland cattle.

The site is regularly visited by botanists both local and further afield.

Nassington Gullet supports a range of plants associated with more open, disturbed habitats. It is managed partly mechanically, cut with a tractor, and by sheep and cattle grazing.

The Ring Haw site includes an old quarry office used by the Wildlife Trust for delivering a range of training events, from general ecological skills through to invertebrate identification.

In 2021 BCN have focussed on improving the infrastructure for grazing by repairing and extending fencing and installing a water trough. The southern end of the reserve has never looked so good as species-rich grassland develops under better grazing management.

Attention is now turning to a different area. Approaching the former quarry office much wildlife benefit has been lost as trees and scrub have encroached over the track side and shaded out the plants and wildflowers that flourished there.

With the help of a further grant from Restore this vegetation can be cut back along around 300m of the track allowing more light in again, creating a more varied structure to help plants and invertebrates.

Monitoring work in the nearby areas similarly restored over the last few years recorded 86 flowering plants, including Greater butterfly orchid, Hairy St. John`s wort and Nettle-leaved bellflower.

It is expected that butterflies including the Silver-washed fritillary and other diverse species will benefit from these environmental improvements.

 

Wilder UK – Stewardship of Nature

Globally and nationally natural systems face collapse and wildlife numbers continue to plummet. Across the UK alone, 56% of species are in decline, 165 are critically endangered and some, that were once so synonymous with the British countryside, have all but disappeared: hedgehog numbers have halved since the turn of the century and 96% of Turtle doves have been lost in the last 20 years.

Despite decades of work by dedicated and skilled environmental conservation organisations across the globe, our natural systems continue to decline. Traditional intensive human-led conservation management (which has focused on preserving a narrow selection of protected sites and key species) is no longer enough to arrest the devastating loss of nature.

But all is not lost.

Wilding offers a fresh, non-invasive approach that can revitalise and transform ecosystems. Focusing on the stewardship, rather than management, of the natural world, it effectively puts nature ‘back in the driving seat’. By moving away from and limiting human intervention, the natural world is given the space and time to recover, and the introduction of missing keystone species, such as large grazing animals, drives the return of natural processes that promote thriving ecosystems and bio-abundance. The key to this is people, resolving any perceived or real conflicts between wildlife and nature and ensuring that they trust nature to work for them.
Wilding represents a massive step change for conservation organisations. It requires new ways of thinking and changing entrenched ways of working. For this reason, Restore Our Planet are keen to help establish a Stewardship of Nature through Wilding Facilitation Fund, critically, to engage the public in these programmes, to help people understand the natural world and the natural processes that can seem so distant to us in our modern lives; to reconnect people with wild nature.

Restore Our Planet have an existing relationship with Kent Wildlife Trust (KWT) and Wildwood Trust (WT). KWT is one of the Wildlife Trusts pioneering these new approaches in the UK, recognising that Kent offers the perfect starting point from which to drive forward Wilding and public engagement with it: if it can work here (which we know it can!) it can work anywhere.

Restore Our Planet will work with KWT and WT as our key delivery partners, providing access to the wider network of individual Wildlife Trusts across the UK. Wildwood Trust have access to other native animals and to other NGOs, local landowners and communities approaching this work.

We will include programmes returning missing species, such as pine marten, beaver and chough and the localised reinforcement of threatened species, such as turtle dove and a range of butterfly species. Collectively we will establish the community of practice to develop a framework for engagement and build capacity for other organisations to kickstart their own wilding projects across the country.

More Trees BANES-Grow Yourself-Community Tree Nursery Project

More Trees Banes is a not-for-profit community group that works hard to protect and plant trees around Bath and North-East Somerset

Grow Yourself is a Community Interest Company which offers offers a range of volunteering, training and work placement opportunities to adults in the Bath and North East Somerset area.

Set up in 2008, run entirely by volunteers More Trees have so far planted 8,000 trees and are currently significantly scaling up their work.

During the winter the bulk of the tree planting takes place and the rest of the year the young trees require weeding, mulching, restaking etc. Volunteers also help with fundraising, planning projects, social media and finance management.

Inspiring households, schools, community groups and businesses is also a key aspiration.

Restore Our Planet are pleased to support Grow Yourself who are partnering with More Trees to create a network of at least 10 new tree nurseries centered around local schools.

Although there are some excellent commercial nurseries in the UK keeping up with an increasing demand they often have to import saplings from abroad. The initial target is to grow at least 5,000 trees from locally collected seed each year.

Grow Yourself will offer professional advice and practical support in the set up and maintenance of these nurseries ensuring appropriate design and tree quality.

Grow Yourself also engages with schools, the young unemployed and people with mental health issues