Ash Moor habitat restoration

This 40 hectare site has a troubled past. In 2002 it was chosen as a burial site for cattle infected during the foot and mouth crisis. Fortunately the site was never used and the reserve has been transformed into a wonderful network of meadows, ponds and wetlands.

Paths are cut each year through the meadow and around the pond, making great butterfly and insect highways.The site is grazed with cattle (mixed including rubys, south devon and
longhorn cows) with the occasional Exmoor pony grazing too – who will eat some of the scrub that the cows aren’t that keen on. Recently the stream had broken its bank so a channel was put back in, to ensure continued flow. A woodland copse had been planted, which will help to create a diverse structure with more varied habitat. Some aftercare was recently needed including the removal of tubes and stakes, which have now done the job of protecting the young plants through their early stages of growth.

All of the ongoing work DWT do at this reserve ensures we are enriching the habitat and allowing wildlife to thrive. Some of the species found here include a wide range of dragonflies and damselflies, an odd sighting of a marsh fritillary butterfly a UK BAP priority species, that mainly feeds on devil’s-bit scabious. Management of the site is increasing the amount of devil’s-bit scabious, so we hope we may get more marsh fritillaries in the years to come. Of special note are also some bird species such as hobbies and tree pipits this year. A barn owl has also been seen hunting for food in this area and both jack and common snipe have been visiting in winter, and we hope to see some of these again in 2021.

Restore were happy to provide funding at the beginning of this programme of restoration.

 

 

 

Dunsdon Nature Reserve

Devon Wildlife Trust purchased Dunsdon Farm in 2000, shortly after which it was declared a National Nature Reserve (one of only 4 in Devon).

This 63 hectare Reserve, near Holsworthy  site of Culm Grassland also enjoying SAC status under the EU Habitats Directive – the highest form of environmental designation. This internationally rare wet grassland is a very diverse wildlife habitat extremely rich in wild flowers and supporting an immense range of other wildlife. It was named Devon`s Coronation Meadow in 2012 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of HRH The Queen.

With such wonderful wildflower areas, this has also become a seed donor site – each year we harvest some of its wildflower seed to create new wildflower meadows nearby. Such an important legacy and ensuring that we can have more areas with such diversity for insects
and other animals that rely on them.

The site is vitally important for its colony of Marsh Fritillary butterflys (one of the ten most threatened spicies in Europe). Restore Our Planet have helped fund the Devonshire Wildlife Trust in its activities to regenerate the biodiversity of the area through scrub clearance and by re-establishing light grazing by cattle and swaling (controlled burning).

An example of some of the work carried out since 2015 as follows.

Grazing
The internal stock fencing and some internal boundaries have been removed to allow cattle access to the site in three large grazing blocks including woodland and scrub areas.
This has resulted in more natural grazing behaviour where the cattle will favour some areas and avoid other parts of the grassland.

Marsh fritillary butterflies appear to be thriving in this new regime. Other grassland species are also doing well, with plants such as petty whin, three lobed crowfoot and devil’s-bit scabious being recorded in new areas. Work carried out to reduce scrub in some of the grassland areas has enabled the spread of lesser butterfly orchid, a nationally
important population.

In the woodlands, where no cattle have had access for 50 years or more, the ground flora is developing and becoming more diverse, as the layer of low bramble which covered much
of the woodland floor is becoming more broken through the actions of browsing cattle. The cattle themselves are also more calm as they are able to avoid excessive wind, rain and sun by grazing in the woodland areas.

Scrub clearance
The ongoing work to remove some larger areas of scrub and also create areas of succession
along the scrubby boundaries of some fields is progressing well. Most of these areas will now be left to develop naturally and will respond to the ongoing management regime of grazing and swaling.

Andrews Wood Reserve

Andrew’s Wood Reserve, near Loddiswell is a 45 hectare site of important UK biodiversity full of wildlife and wonderful views.

Plants such as ragged robin, wild angelica, lesser spearwort,devils-bit scabious, watermint, sneezewort and many other plants have become really abundant especially where areas have cleared  of bramble and gorse that were threatening to smother the whole site.

A new pond was put in 2019 and this now has tadpoles, and many dragonflies/damselflies using it including broad-bodied chasers, common blue damselflies and Emperor dragonflies.

In 2015 some reptile hibernaculum were built  and  about 250 slowworms were `rehomed” onto the field  as part of a mitigation program from a nearby housing development.

Grass snakes have been seen occasionally here and common lizards are often seen basking on some of the big quartzite rocks.

Two Dartmoor ponies – Trigger and Shy graze Cuckoo field throughout the year and do a great job of helping to control the grasses and where their hooves create areas of bare ground, this allows the spread and germination of many  uncommon plants all of which are important for insects and other animals.

Barn owls have occasionally been seen in the winter feeding over this area. Rough grassland and grass strips alongside the edge of woods are important hunting habitat for barn owls, and without these within a certain distance of their roosting and nesting sites, the owls would not thrive.

Greater horseshoe bats are often seen feeding over Cuckoo field in the summer. They rely on these meadows packed with wildflowers because they are well stocked with their favourite insect food – cockchafers, moths and craneflies. These rare bats also feast on beetles attracted to the meadows by horse dung.

Native bees and moths are important pollinators of wild and agricultural plants too, and these meadows provide the copious nectar that they need for their very existence. The diverse array of plants here also attract many butterflies – clouded yellows, brimstones, speckled woods, large skippers, common blue and holly blue are just some of the species found here.

Harvest mice nests have also been found on this reserve in the brambles and long grasses. They feed on grass seeds, fruit, berries, grain and sometimes insects in the winter. The
ideal habitat is brambles, long grass and hedgerows, all of which can be found at Andrews Wood. This is a nationally rare species, in part due to suitable habitat decline making reserves like this extremely important.

Restore were pleased to provide funding for this important reserve..

Curlew Action

The aims of Curlew Action are to inspire and enable the conservation of curlews, Europe`s largest wading bird, alongside other farmland and wetland wildlife across Britain, whilst advocating for curlews and the landscapes that support them.

It also aims through education, from primary through to degree level, to increase the connection between people and nature encouraging appreciation and protection.

The curlew is a symbol of the wild and is much loved across the UK. By supporting work at a local level, but based on a national network of knowledge, the conservation of curlews can be ensured throughout Britain. As curlews are a bioindicator species this work will also help a whole suite of farmland and wetland wildlife.

Local people know their land best but often need advice and support on the ground and most landowners are committed to not only keeping curlews on their land but ideally increasing their numbers. Curlew Action will support the work that needs to be done.

Fieldwork requires training of volunteers, especially in the breeding season, building relationships between landowners and conservationists and provision of hardware eg. electric fences, nest cameras, data loggers etc.
Regional conferences and meetings will provide networking and information sharing.

A free-to-all website will provide a focus for knowledge sharing, conservation advice, scientific research and training videos. It will act as a national hub to encourage those in the field and for the collection and sharing of data.

From an education perspective there is a disconnect between people and the natural world with children and adults alike knowing little about the plants and animals that surround us. We lack an understanding of migratory and invasive species, seasonal change and the losses that have occurred over the last few decades. A GCSE in Natural History is the first step to put this right encouraging a fascination with nature throughout secondary school and beyond. The aim would be to extend the programme to A Level, then to university degree level.

Curlew Action will be involved in the production of textbooks and other educational material to back up these courses.

The Trust will also build and operate crowd-funding software which allows individuals to buy land that supports curlews for the Curlew Trust, which would in turn manage that land for the benefit of the curlew and for education.

Restore Our Planet has provided funding which has resulted in the creation of Curlew Action.

In 2022 Curlew Action started a scheme in Lancashire for junior schools under the Junior School Network project. Schools will be taken, fully supervised and accompanied by an expert, to the nearby moors to learn about the birds in the breeding season and at Morecambe Bay in the winter. The children will learn to identify curlew,understand their ecology and appreciate their importance as a bioinficator.

Restore are pleased to help with the supply of suitable binoculars.

Turtle Doves and Pine Martens – A Wilder Kent

For a summary of Re-wilding please see the Wilder UK project page.

Since 2019, Restore Our Planet has been working with Kent Wildlife Trust (KWT) to realise their vision of creating a Wilder Kent, where 30% of Kent’s land and sea is thriving with wildlife. A grant from Restore enabled KWT to appoint specialist Wilding Officers who, together with partners Wildwood Trust, have driven forward specific wilding projects and partnerships with specialist organisations, such as Natural England, RSPB, Woodland Trust and English Heritage.

The vision proposed  by Kent Wildlife Trust was to ‘make Kent a wilder place, to restore lost species and ecological processes and inspire people to support efforts to reverse wildlife losses of the past.’ Using the Lawton principle of bigger, better and more joined up – Wilder
Kent aims at doubling ‘wild’ areas in Kent, through better stewardship of nature at scale and the links between nature-rich sites.

Key outcomes of the project include:
• A 3,000 acre high profile demonstration wilding project, which once in place will attract in the region of half a million visits.
• Restoring or reintroducing species extinct in Kent and the South East, including red squirrels, pine martens, red billed chough and beavers.
• Using the effects of reintroduced native wildlife to control invasive species and create better balanced ecosystems – creating the right conditions for nature to begin repairing itself.
• Use of inspirational communications to gain public support for these programmes and to give both short-term and long-term financial resources to ensure their sustainability.

Pine Martens
Pine martens have been persecuted to the brink of extinction, and by 1915 were confined to just a few isolated populations in the most remote areas of Britain. In recognition of this threat, the pine marten has been identified as a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. We must now reintroduce the pine marten, once the second most common carnivore in Britain, across its former ranges throughout southern England, creating wild populations from Kent to Gloucestershire and increasing connectivity between fragmented relic populations in Wales.

In order for this to work, we must build a breeding facility to supply captive-bred pine martens for the reintroduction. We will be partnering with Wildwood Trust, the nation’s leading experts in the captive breeding of pine martens, who have pioneered unique enclosure designs which drastically increase the success rate of breeding. Using their expertise, we can guarantee a captive bred source population to support the reintroduction programme. To support the breeding programme, Wildwood will construct eight breeding enclosures at their wildlife park in Kent and will increase keeper capacity, creating a dedicated role for the care of these animals.

Pine martens play an integral role in a balanced woodland ecosystem and act as a biodiversity indicator species. Their reintroduction can control invasive species such as the grey squirrel, paving the way for the return of the native red squirrel, and also create healthier woodland habitats.

Turtle Doves
Turtle dove numbers have been devastated by habitat loss, with 96% of this species having been lost in the last 20 years, and without immediate intervention they will disappear from our countryside for ever.

As an educational tool to engage the public with nature they have lost, and to act as a springboard for the planned future conservation project,  a turtle dove enclosure will be built at  Wildwood Trust to educate their visitors about the vital and exciting work Kent Wildlife Trust has already begun to safeguard the future of the turtle dove.

 

Stewardship of Nature – A Wilder Kent

For a summary of Re-wilding please see the Wilder UK project page.

Since 2019, Restore Our Planet has been working with Kent Wildlife Trust (KWT) to realise their vision of creating a Wilder Kent, where 30% of Kent’s land and sea is thriving with wildlife. A grant from Restore enabled KWT to appoint specialist Wilding Officers who, together with partners Wildwood Trust, have driven forward specific wilding projects and partnerships with specialist organisations, such as Natural England, RSPB, Woodland Trust and English Heritage.

The vision proposed  by Kent Wildlife Trust was to ‘make Kent a wilder place, to restore lost species and ecological processes and inspire people to support efforts to reverse wildlife losses of the past.’ Using the Lawton principle of bigger, better and more joined up – Wilder
Kent aims at doubling ‘wild’ areas in Kent, through better stewardship of nature at scale and the links between nature-rich sites.

Key outcomes of the project include:
• A 3,000 acre high profile demonstration wilding project, which once in place will attract in the region of half a million visits.
• Restoring or reintroducing species extinct in Kent and the South East, including red squirrels, pine martens, red billed chough and beavers.
• Using the effects of reintroduced native wildlife to control invasive species and create better balanced ecosystems – creating the right conditions for nature to begin repairing itself.
• Use of inspirational communications to gain public support for these programmes and to give both short-term and long-term financial resources to ensure their sustainability.

Pine Martens
Pine martens have been persecuted to the brink of extinction, and by 1915 were confined to just a few isolated populations in the most remote areas of Britain. In recognition of this threat, the pine marten has been identified as a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. We must now reintroduce the pine marten, once the second most common carnivore in Britain, across its former ranges throughout southern England, creating wild populations from Kent to Gloucestershire and increasing connectivity between fragmented relic populations in Wales.

In order for this to work, we must build a breeding facility to supply captive-bred pine martens for the reintroduction. We will be partnering with Wildwood Trust, the nation’s leading experts in the captive breeding of pine martens, who have pioneered unique enclosure designs which drastically increase the success rate of breeding. Using their expertise, we can guarantee a captive bred source population to support the reintroduction programme. To support the breeding programme, Wildwood will construct eight breeding enclosures at their wildlife park in Kent and will increase keeper capacity, creating a dedicated role for the care of these animals.

Pine martens play an integral role in a balanced woodland ecosystem and act as a biodiversity indicator species. Their reintroduction can control invasive species such as the grey squirrel, paving the way for the return of the native red squirrel, and also create healthier woodland habitats.

Turtle Doves
Turtle dove numbers have been devastated by habitat loss, with 96% of this species having been lost in the last 20 years, and without immediate intervention they will disappear from our countryside for ever.

As an educational tool to engage the public with nature they have lost, and to act as a springboard for the planned future conservation project,  a turtle dove enclosure will be built at  Wildwood Trust to educate their visitors about the vital and exciting work Kent Wildlife Trust has already begun to safeguard the future of the turtle dove.

 

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

Blacka Moor Woodland Restoration

Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust is an independent local charity dedicated to conserving and enhancing their natural environment and are one of only a few Wildlife Trusts in the UK to be centred in an urban environment.

Blacka Moor is the largest reserve in their care consisting of 455 acres of woodland and heath bequeathed to the people of Sheffield by local philanthropist J G Graves in the 1930s.

It is a haven for wildlife and is home to a number of bird species on the IUCN ‘red list' of threatened species including spotted flycatcher, wood warbler, pied flycatcher, lesser redpoll and bullfinch.

The most common cause of the decline of wildlife is the loss of the specific habitat it needs to survive and quite small changes can render a landscape inimical to wildlife, but conversely, if caught in time there is improvement and restoration which can be done to reverse the decline.

At Blacka Moor the main part of this work involves thinning and scalloping the woodland to allow more light to the ground. A series of warm, dry spring seasons has resulted in the woods donning a thicker canopy earlier in the year which has adversely affected the ground flora, undergrowth and even tree regeneration. This in turn reduces the amount of insect life in the woods, a vital food source for many of these threatened birds and pollinators.

Restore Our Planet has agreed to provide funds to create a number of shallow woodland ponds to boost the number of insects within Blacka Woods.

We have also funded an important Woodland bird survey and the installation of approximately 40 nest boxes.

Fix the Fells Volunteer Scheme

The Lake District attracts more than 19 million visitors annually. However the impact of the volume of footfall on the fells that this number brings, as well as the increasing number of severe weather events, is placing significant pressure on the incredibly fragile mountain environment.

Grass, vegetation and soil are being trampled, exposed and washed away. As paths deteriorate and surfaces become loose, walkers seek to avoid footpaths and are treading on the vegetation to the side. Fragile upland habitats on the slopes, home to endangered species such as parsley fern and woolly hair moss, are being destroyed by erosion. Sediment is being swept into becks, tarns, rivers and lakes, changing water acidity levels and negatively impacting fish and plant life. Vital carbon sinks such as peat bogs are being damaged causing carbon dioxide to be leaked into the atmosphere.

Footpath restoration and maintenance can have a hugely positive impact. At Helvellyn a rare alpine plant, Mouse Ear, disappeared from the fell-side. In Red Tarn the White Schelly fish was facing significant challenges as spawning grounds became clogged due to loose soil spilling from the ridge. Restoration and repair work now subtly directs people away from the sensitive vulnerable areas, reducing erosion and protecting rare plants from trampling and smothering.

Since 2002 the Fix the Fells project, supported by over a hundred trained volunteers, have been using both traditional and cutting edge techniques to repair and maintain footpaths. This work plays an important role in the conservation of mountain habitats and upland landscapes in the Lake District National Park, including work to protect Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The sustainable techniques used take into consideration the geology, vegetation and conservation of the local areas. For example paths are repaired using traditional methods including stone pitching by hand and soil inversion, techniques used since Roman times.
The work is nationally recognised for its expertise in ranger and volunteer led upland path repair at scale. This learning is also being shared to bring benefit to other national parks, for example Snowdonia and with the National Trust for Scotland.

Restore Our Planet has provided funding to support the cost of volunteer ‘lengthmen’ expenses enabling the Lake District Foundation to add a huge amount of extra capacity to the work to restore and maintain footpaths across the fells and as a result conserving the landscape and biodiversity.

We have also provided funds to assist in a succesful grant from the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020.

This will fund the Real Hedge Fund Campaign which supports a partnership to develop a programme of planting, restoration and conservation.

The ambitious plan is to plant 4000 metres of native hedgerow across Cumbria.

Naturally Native-Water Vole Restoration

Water vole numbers declined dramatically throughout the 20th century and that decline continues today. Naturally Native will tackle the two main causes of decline: predation by introduced American mink and poor quality fragmented riparian habitat. This project will operate at a landscape scale where public engagement and volunteering will be at the heart of its success and is a partnership between Northumbria, Tees valley and Durham Wildlife Trusts.

Thanks to players of the National Lottery water vole surveys have been carried out across the region in order to build up the body of knowledge about the water vole and mink population.

Consultations are being carried out with local communities, landowners and a range of local stakeholders to gather support for the project and develop a body of volunteers who will support the project during the delivery phase.

Work at this scale, in a region whose major settlements and industrial heritage are so characterised by its river systems, has never been attempted before. The team will be working to create better conditions for water voles and help to restore wildlife in rivers and streams.

Mink will systematically be removed following good practice guidance and animal welfare will be paramount.

Where water courses need habitat improvement scrub will be removed and a more diverse range of native food plants installed to create better conditions for water vole populations to grow and expand. This will help once isolated and fragmented populations link up, increasing population numbers and genetic diversity.

Education will be a fundamentally important component of Naturally Native with a strong focus on engaging with 14-25 year olds. An innovative educational programme will engage with new and diverse audiences and use the plight of the water vole as an opportunity to highlight species and habitat loss; broader issues around native and non-native species; the threats facing rivers and wetlands and the wider social benefits of a healthy, thriving natural environment.

Restore Our Planet are pleased to be supporting this excellent project.

Keeping Communities Sustainably Clean

CleanupUK is a charity whose main focus is on helping those who are most in need, usually in areas of deprivation, to combat the litter problem where they are. Through involvement in this activity, people feel their communities are safer, more welcoming and friendlier.

It`s work consists of running the Beautiful Birmingham Project and the Beautiful Boroughs Project.

When we want to relax and be uplifted and inspired we seek out beautiful places. Littered and uncared-for areas have the opposite effect on our spirits – they are depressing, stressful and demoralising. For the people living there this is everyday life and it is hard to muster the enthusiasm and energy to tackle alone what seems like an insurmountable problem.

The projects work with people living in these communities who want to form groups to keep their area clean and safe, thereby strengthening communities depleted by litter, poverty and disadvantage. CleanupUK plays a complementary role with the local authorities, stengthening communities through the simple act of picking up litter and encouraging social action.

Restore Our Planet has provided funding to help support the Beautiful Boroughs Project, launched in 2011, and currently being delivered in 12 of the most deprived and littered London boroughs: Barking & Dagenham, Camden, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

CleanupUK also helps anyone wherever they live in the UK to form a litter-picking group to strengthen their community. This is achieved via the Litter Action website that was have set up in conjunction with the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). You will find all that you need on the site to help you run your litter group more easily, start a new group or join a group near to where you live.

Swift boxes for Bath

The common swift, a designated iconic species in Bath, has declined by 53% between 1995 and 2016 and is now amber listed. It is believed loss of nest sites is at least partly responsible. These migrant birds return from their wintering grounds in Africa to the same spot each year to breed – usually in buildings, in gaps in roof tiles and eaves.

Due to our tendency to seal up buildings during renovation or knock them down, swifts are returning to discover their nest site has gone or access is blocked.

To attempt to counteract this trend, Bath Swift Group, part of Bath and District RSPB Local Group, decided to encourage interested local residents and churches to install swift nest boxes.

Restore our Planet has supported the purchase and erection of these in appropriate locations.

By the end of the 2019 season Bath Swift Boxes had supplied and installed 68 new boxes in Bath and the surrounding area.

The 2019 Bath Swift Survey also identified 83 locations in Bath where swifts were found with a total of 125 `nest sites`, some locations with multiple nests. This is an increase on the 2018 totals, however this may be as a result of improved survey techniques, but gives a good understanding of the swifts` whereabouts which is an important factor.

The Butterfly Effect

‘The Butterfly Effect’ is a term coined by the meteorologist and mathematician Edwards Lorenz in 1969 to capture the idea that a small cause (the flap of a butterfly’s wing) could have a major effect such as an extreme weather event. We have borrowed the metaphor as it reflects our ambition for the activities envisaged in a single geography, in this case Gloucestershire, to be scaled up throughout the UK, and the knowledge imparted in a small number of people to be shared with many.

The Butterfly Effect is a new initiative that aims to activate community support and bring a new wave of volunteers to Butterfly Conservation. Education and engaging young people and families will be at the heart of the project but it will pull together a ‘toolkit’ of different opportunities for involving communities.

The main driver of the project is to use this education work as a focus for raising awareness and understanding of how people can get involved to save butterflies, moths and their environment.

Built around Butterfly Conservation’s proven education programme Munching Caterpillars and public campaigns, Big Butterfly Count, Garden Survey and Plant Pots for Pollinators this initiative will draw all these elements together.

The project will operate among a diverse range of groups to include schools. higher education establishments, local government, gardening and nature groups.

Hazel Dormice

Wildwood Trust is a unique centre of excellence for the conservation of British Wildlife. Set in 37 acres of ancient woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The charitable aims of the Trust are, the promotion of conservation; the protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment; the advancement of education in conservation, ecology, biodiversity, sustainable development and British flora and fauna.

Wildwood came into existence in a direct response to the need to safeguard populations of endangered species in the UK and to raise awareness about wildlife conservation. Hazel Dormice live in isolated pockets of habitat, and numbers are declining. They are a Biodiversity Action Plan species, endangered, and need help from captive breeding facilities and release schemes to boost population numbers. Wildwood are the studbook holders for the Hazel Dormouse Captive Breeders Group in the UK and provide healthy adult dormice to the reintroduction programmes helping to restore the former range of dormice in the UK. Wildwood provides training in habitat and nest box monitoring for volunteers and the releases are managed through the People`s Trust for Endangered Species.

Restore has provided funds to assist in a number of areas such as; improving food quality for breeding pairs; costs related to the hand-rearing of orphaned dormice; staff and vets costs relating to habitat monitoring and issues which ensure the optimum health of released dormice.

In 2018 a further grant was agreed to facilitate the construction of five new dormice breeding enclosures, ten nest boxes and heating and over-wintering costs for rescued dormice juveniles.This will help to increase the numbers of dormice Wildwood can provide for release sites in collaboration with Wildlife Trusts around the UK.

Click here to see a video of one of our orphaned dormouse babies being fed by hand.

Community Woodland Network

Following the phenomenal success of The Woodland Trust’s ‘Woods on your Doorstep’ project, the Trust is placing an increasing emphasis on inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds to learn about the importance and benefits of trees, and providing opportunities for people to enjoy woodlands and to play an active part in planting and caring for them.

One immediate result from the ‘Woods on your Doorstep’ project was an increase in calls to the Trust for help in acquiring, planning and managing local community woods. The response was to set up the Community Woodland Network. Restore Our Planet has helped fund the three year development phase of the project, enabling the Woodland trust to test and implement mechanisms through which they can provide: Outreach to woodland management groups; advice and guidance on aspects of ecology; woodland management; health and safety and technical support; access to training, equipment and group insurance; a forum to encourage groups to share experiences and give mutual support; and legal frameworks for groups wishing to operate leasehold or management agreements.

Over 260 local woodland management groups from across England and Wales are now actively involved in the Network. The helpline responds to 40-50 phone calls, emails and letters each month and circulates a quarterly newsletter to keep groups up to date on issues and events. The website is supplemented by mini-websites promoting individual groups and mutual support between groups is growing.

Piddington Wood habitat restoration

Very little is left of Oxfordshire`s woodland, and what remains is mainly fragmented and surrounded by intensively farmed land. Woodland plants and animals are struggling to survive in these small isolated woods.

Restore helped fund the doubling of the size of Piddington Wood a remnant of the ancient hunting forest of Bernwood by buying another 21 acres of adjoining woodland and fields. This has helped buffer and protect the ancient wood from the effects of neighbouring intensive agriculture. The whole site is now being managed primarily for the benefit of butterflies, especially the brown hairstreak which is now very rare.

Maintaining forest edge habitats for the butterflies is attracting further species and there is growing interest in the bats that are being attracted to the site, with Local volunteers now erecting and monitoring bat boxes.

Houndtor and Wray ancient broadleaf woodland restoration

Restore Our Planet contributed to the Trust’s acquisition of Houndtor and Wray, securing the future of a vital component of an area of international conservation importance on the south-eastern side of Dartmoor National Park.

Once purchased work began to restore these coniferised ancient woods to native broadleaf species, in order to reconstitute a substantial area of ancient woodland and protect and develop the natural heritage and biodiversity of the wider area, known as the Bovey Valley Woods. Houndtor (65acres) forms part of a woodland area now covering 720 acres and Wray (56acres) forms part of a contiguous area now covering 700 acres.

The project also had specific biodiversity benefits. The now protected rivers and brooks provide micro-climates for bryophytes, ferns and lichens; archaeological features provide niche habitats for fungi and lichens. The woods provide homes for a wide range of wildlife including rare fritillary butterflies, dormice and wood ants believed to be present in both the acquired woods.

Woodland Creation in The Vale of Glamorgan

The UK’s ancient forests are irreplaceable and much of what remains is in vulnerable fragments. Many of the species that inhabit ancient woodland are relatively immobile and are disappearing at an alarming rate.

Restore Our Planet has helped support the linking and buffering of some very special ancient woodland sites: In The Casehill Wood extension, a few miles to the west of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan Restore Our Planet helped fund the purchase of 21 hectares of pasture in order to plant 50,000 trees (all of native stock) to link and buffer two separate areas of semi-natural ancient woodland – already owned by the Woodland Trust: Pen-y-Turnpike and Cwm Gorge woods.

This is providing exceptional nature conservation value with the site now under the Trust’s management plan, which is significantly increasing and enhancing local biodiversity value by creating and maintaining the area as a continuous woodland complex of over 8 hectares.

Woods on your doorstep

‘Woods on your Doorstep’ – the Woodland Trust’s millennium project – enabled 250 local communities across the UK to design and plant new, local and accessible woods that now provide much loved amenities for local people and are benefiting the landscape and wildlife.

Restore Our Planet stepped in to provide crucial funding to help three local communities in Devon, Greater Manchester and Sheffield, which were struggling to raise the funding they needed: Tramlines Wood, Okehampton, Devon – The small size of the planting at Tramlines Wood belies its importance. Just one acre of wet meadowland, an increasingly rare habitat, has been planted with scattered willows, leaving plenty of open space to encourage the widest possible range of wild flowers to colonise and thrive.

This new plantation lies between and now protects and links a range of distinctive habitats along the river valley, including ancient woodland. Local people are intrigued and pleased by the number of plant and animal species now colonising the site, including increasing numbers of bats which hunt along the river and meadow. A new footbridge has been erected to provide easy access to local playing fields and to the local college and youth hostel, which is encouraging young people to visit the site and explore along the river. Springfield Copse, Greater Manchester Local people have planted 700 native trees, including oak, ash, birch, hazel, rowan and crab apple, on just over half this site. They are thriving and a rich mosaic of habitats is developing around the trees and along the streams and wet flushes which are a feature of the site.

Springfield Copse is situated close to Stockport and its growing population. Local people describe the site as a wonderful tranquil oasis and particularly value the experience of being part of such an interesting restoration project. Wantley Dragon Wood was designed and planted as a 16 acre extension to Bitholmes Wood, an ancient woodland in Sheffield that was already owned by the Woodland Trust.

Adjoining Firth Wood has since been added to the landholding, making Wantley Dragon Wood a vital part of a site that now covers about 100 acres in total. Natural regeneration from Bitholmes Wood has been supplemented by local people planting oak, ash, birch, cherry, rowan and field maple. The new plantation has quickly become established and is now blending well with the pr-existing woodland.

The size of the entire site is a great incentive to people to visit it and local people are proud of the part they continue to play in the protection of the area.

Cloatley Manor habitat restoration

Cloatley Manor is a large parcel of neutral grassland in the Braydon Forest near Malmesbury.

Restore Our Planet helped fund The Wltshire Wildlife Trust to seize the opportunity to acquire 77 acres of adjacent land consisting of 8 fields and a small copse. 3 fields have been notified as SSSI with a further two containing good quality vegetation. Species present include betony, black knapweed, meadow sweet, saw-wort and pepper saxifrage. Each field is surrounded by tall and species rich hedgerows which are themselves bordered by deep ditches and water courses.

Sympathetic management regimes now serve to preserve and restore the landscape and the biodiversity across the site

Langford Fisheries habitat protection

Langford Fisheries is an area of 13 hectares at Steeple Langford near Salisbury, consisting half a mile of exceptional double bank chalk river, which enjoys SSSI status; 20 acres of flooded gravel pits holding an outstanding array of resident and migrant birds; and 13 acres of dry land, including woodland and pasture.

The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust proposed to acquire the land to safeguard the river and manage it as a nature reserve.

Restore Our Planet contributed a grant to the Trust’s acquisition fund as we felt it was crucial that this site be acquired as the alternatives include an organised shoot targeting the existing birds or high intensity fishery, which would have been hugely detrimental to the ecological integrity of this important site.

Blakehill airfield habitat restoration

In 2000 the 235 hectare former Blakehill airfield near Cricklade in Wiltshire became the site of the UK’s largest restoration of an ancient wildflower meadow, meeting 50% of the government’s target for restoring ancient meadows to 2010. Intensified agriculture has resulted in the loss of 97% of UK hay meadows in the last 50 years.

The restoration of Blakehill will bring back wildflowers such as knapweed, devil’s-bit scabious and saw-wort; butterflies including meadow brown, white letter hairstreak and orange tip; and birds such as skylark and curlews. The scrub woodlands at the edge of the fields will also attract nightingales, barn owls and reed buntings.

Funding provided by Restore Our Planet purchased and erected bat and owl boxes in a building to the north-east of the site, near suitable hedgerows and boundaries, and in an old underground bunker on the site. Hedgerow restoration was also undertaken in order to create a vital corridor for wildlife.

Water Vole Conservation – London wetlands Centre Barnes

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust was founded in 1946 by Sir Peter Scott, whose aim was ‘to establish a centre for the scientific study, public display, and conservation of the wildfowl of the world’.

Today they are a world leader for the protection of swans, geese, ducks and flamingos and work to save and restore ponds, lakes, rivers and other wetlands with associated wildlife and plants. Over the last century, in the UK alone, half of our wetlands have been lost; and globally the loss of wetlands is accelerating as populations increase and competition for resources soar.

WWT have recently begun the Water Vole Conservation Project to introduce conservation areas to promote the recovery of water vole populations that current estimates suggest has declined by over 94% in the last century. This due predominantly to destruction and pollution of habitat. To achieve their recovery it is important that WWT: manage and restore habitat through the establishment of appropriate emergent vegetation – including reeds, yellow flag and sedges;diversify the water course structures and create pools where appropriate. To this end a 3 year management program has been initiated at the London Wetlands Centre, Barnes.

Restore Our Planet is funding this project, including the purchase of specialist tools and equipment vital to the habitat restoration and management, as well as for the essential pest control and monitoring activity.

Dundreggan Conservation Estate – Caledonian Forest restoration

Trees for Life is an award winning charity working to restore the native Caledonian Forest to its former range in the Highlands of Scotland. Since 1989, it has planted over 1.3 million trees and has facilitated the natural regeneration of ancient forest remnants in Glen Affric and at other sites to the west of Inverness and Loch Ness. The charity also advocates the reintroduction of the missing species of wildlife that formerly lived in the forest, as they are essential for the reestablishment of a balanced, self-sustaining ecosystem.

In 2008 Trees for Life purchased the 4,000 hectare Dundreggan Estate in Glenmoriston, which is notable for its wide range of woodland and other habitats. It contains an outstanding area of large junipers, what is possibly the most extensive population of dwarf birch in Scotland and significant populations of important species such as black grouse and wood ants. Restore Our Planet contributed some funding towards the purchase and the development of the first 5 year management plan for the estate.

Dundreggan Conservation Estate is now Trees for Life’s flagship restoration project, with over 335,000 native trees planted there since its purchase. The site also includes a native tree nursery growing 60,000 trees annually, focusing on scarcer species such as aspen and montane willows. Ongoing biodiversity surveys have led to the discovery of 16 species (mostly invertebrates) at Dundreggan that are not known anywhere else in the UK, thereby emphasising the significance of the estate for biological diversity.

Aspen Project

Trees for Life is an award winning charity working to restore the native Caledonian Forest to its former range in the Highlands of Scotland. Since 1989, it has planted over 1.3 million trees and has facilitated the natural regeneration of ancient forest remnants in Glen Affric and at other sites to the west of Inverness and Loch Ness. The charity also advocates the reintroduction of the missing species of wildlife that formerly lived in the forest, as they are essential for the reestablishment of a balanced, self-sustaining ecosystem.

Aspen is a key species within the Caledonian Forest, supporting a unique community of insects, fungi, mosses and lichens, some of which are rare and endangered. However, because aspen rarely flowers and almost never produces seeds, and is also highly palatable to deer, it has been reduced to small, isolated groups of trees. In 1991 Trees for Life launched a project to help restore aspen in the Highlands, focused on surveying and mapping the existing aspen stands, protecting selected groups of trees and propagating new aspens, with Restore Our Planet contributing funding towards the expansion of this work.

Trees for Life is now the largest producer in the Highlands of aspens by propagation from root cuttings, and has also achieved success with seed production in nursery conditions. The overall strategy is to reestablish aspen in the forest, linking up the isolated stands and returning the species to areas where it has disappeared, as well as creating improved habitat for beavers, which rely on aspen as winter food.

Glen Affric – Caledonian Forest restoration

Trees for Life is an award winning charity working to restore the native Caledonian Forest to its former range in the Highlands of Scotland. Since 1989, it has planted over 1.3 million trees and has facilitated the natural regeneration of ancient forest remnants in Glen Affric and at other sites to the west of Inverness and Loch Ness. The charity also advocates the reintroduction of the missing species of wildlife that formerly lived in the forest, as they are essential for the reestablishment of a balanced, self-sustaining ecosystem.

Much of the charity’s work has been carried out in partnership with Forest Enterprise Scotland in the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve, which contains one of the best fragments of the old Caledonian Forest. However, like many of the remnants, much of the woodland in Glen Affric consists of Scots pine, which is a keystone species in the ecosystem and the largest and longest-lived tree there. The native broadleaved trees are under-represented in the forest, as they were selectively removed for their timber and their seedlings are more palatable to deer, so they have not recovered.

To help address this, Trees for Life launched a project with grant aid from Restore Our Planet to plant a range of native broadleaf species in suitable areas in Glen Affric. Trees which had become scarce, such as oak, hazel, aspen, goat willow, bird cherry, holly, juniper and dwarf birch have been selectively planted in suitable sites, while naturally regenerating seedlings of oak and hazel have been individually protected with tree guards to enable them to grow.

Allt Na Muic Woodland Restoration Project

Trees for Life is an award winning charity working to restore the native Caledonian Forest to its former range in the Highlands of Scotland. Since 1989, it has planted over 1.3 million trees and has facilitated the natural regeneration of ancient forest remnants in Glen Affric and at other sites to the west of Inverness and Loch Ness. The charity also advocates the reintroduction of the missing species of wildlife that formerly lived in the forest, as they are essential for the reestablishment of a balanced, self-sustaining ecosystem.

A key step in restoring the forest is to re-connect some of the woodland fragments that are isolated from each other in adjacent glens, to create a larger extent of contiguous forest. The Allt Na Muic watercourse in Glenmoriston offers one such opportunity, to re-establish a native woodland corridor, stretching from there northwards over the watershed divide to Glen Affric. Trees for Life’s Allt Na Muic Woodland Restoration Project has been supported by Restore Our Planet, and consists of several fenced exclosures for both natural regeneration of montane scrub on the higher ground and planting native trees lower down the watercourse.
Dwarf birch, a scarce montane species in Scotland, is recovering naturally inside one of the exclosures, and in the others alder, aspen, downy birch, eared willow, juniper, rowan and Scots pine have been planted by Trees for Life volunteers.

The restoration of the streamside forest will also benefit the freshwater pearl mussels (a UK priority species of conservation) that live in the River Moriston, which the Allt Na Muic flows into.

Bryn Marsh and Ince Moss Restoration Project

Bryn Marsh and Ince Moss SSSI is a 20.5 hectare mosaic of reedbed, mossland, open water and associated wetlands. The site makes up a significant part of Wigan Flashes, a 240 hectare reserve formed by mining subsidence owned by Wigan Council.

The reserve has been managed by Lancashire W. T. since 1999 in partnership with the landowners, RSPB and Natural England. This area contained a number of reedbeds of reasonable quality however no management occurred. Whilst there were significant areas of wet reedbed, areas had dried out allowing willow scrub encroachment.

Lowering works carried out elsewhere on the reserve have successfully colonised with reed supporting Bitterns. Reedbed works proposed for Bryn Marsh and Ince Moss would also create pools and ditches enabling the movement of water and as a result, fish.

It is believed the proposed works will play a key role in creating habitat links which will enable the wetland to develop as a cohesive system significantly improving wildlife potential. A number of BAP species will benefit including Bittern, Reed Bunting, Grasshopper Warbler, Lapwing and Water Vole.

Holiday Moss-Purchase and Restoration Project

Funding from Restore Our Planet has been used to purchase Holiday Moss, Rainford near St Helens, a 3 hectare heavily degraded lowland raised bog ( mossland ) site. Mosslands are England`s most endangered habitat which have suffered a 99% decrease in Merseyside since the late 1800`s. Holiday Moss represents 15% of this precious remaining mossland habitat in Merseyside.

It supports a population of Brown Hare, a priority Biodiversity Action Plan species. It is also valuable as one of only two sites in Merseyside where Bog Myrtle thrives.
The site has suffered from considerable neglect due to drainage,scrub invasion, peat extraction and mining. Thankfully due to the purchase of the site, finalised in 2009, this trend of neglect has now been reversed by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust. The Trust`s current priority is to restore Holiday Moss to its former glory creating a haven for many unusual and rare plant and animal species and enhancing biodiversity in the North west.

The peat dominated soil, a key factor of mossland habitat, sequesters thousands of tonnes of carbon which was previously being released as the site dried out and was becoming degraded. Restoration will prevent any further loss and over time the site will sequester more carbon for the benefit of everyone.

Northwest Lowlands Water Vole Project

As Kenneth Grahame once wrote with respect to the river in The Wind in the Willows ` By it and with it and on it and in it…` which precisely sums up the lifestyle of our native Water Voles.
Sadly in decline, England`s most endangered mammal and a Biodiversity Action Plan priority species is at the centre of a good news story in the north west.
When the Wildlife Trust began management of the Wigan Flashes in 1999 there was no evidence of Water Voles, however, they began to colonise the site in 2002 and now there is a thriving population. To capitalise on this positive situation six ponds and 1km of ditches over an area of 5 hectares have been dug at Scotman`s and Ochre Flash, with further ponds and ditches over seven hectares at Hawkley Hall Flash.

Providing additional habitats will encourage movement along wildlife corridors and increase the chance of continuing to build up significant populations.

Linked to the Mossland Restoration Project in Lancashire already supported by Restore Our Planet this will extend across the north west into Cheshire and Cumbria.

Restore Our Planet has agreed to fund habitat restoration work with the aim of providing connectivity between rural and urban habitats allowing Water Voles to colonise larger areas thereby greatly increasing the chances of their long-term survival.

Mossland Restoration Project

Mosslands are one of Europe rarest and most threatened habitats. Since c.1850 the area of mossland in the UK has fallen 94% to only 6000 hectares. In England only 500 hectares now remain. Prior to this decline the Northwest of England supported a large proportion of the entire UK mossland though much of the resource has now been lost through conversion to high grade agricultural land or extraction for the horticultural industry.

The Mossland Rescue program aims to halt the massive loss within the region initially concentrating on 5 sites restoring and enhancing 98ha of mossland and associated habitat around Lancashire, Bolton and Greater Manchester. The water vole is one of many species for whom mosslands provide vital habitat.

Restore’s funding was directed at the creation and protection of these water vole habitats through installing dams to increase water levels. The donation also funded some species monitoring activity in the area.

Community Organic Gardens – Blackburn

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust has been involved in encouraging and supporting communities to grow their own food since 1997. Empowering communities to reclaim derelict land and unused allotments to grow their own organic food. Groups promote sustainable and healthy living amongst both young and old by eating organic fruit and veg, composting and getting fresh air and exercise.

The idea of community allotments took off following a successful pilot in Halliwell in 1997 and by 2004 the Lancashire Wildlife Trust was supporting 14 active projects involving at least 150 volunteers a week in Bolton, Wigan, Salford, Blackburn and Burnley. The long term viability of the projects depends on building capacity within the community groups and volunteer networks so that they can become fully constituted and organisationally self-standing.

Restore’s funding helped achieve this in the Blackburn area by purchasing crucial equipment including tools, access to information and allotment rental.

Community Organic Gardens – Bolton

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust has been involved in encouraging and supporting communities to grow their own food since 1997. Empowering communities to reclaim derelict land and unused allotments to grow their own organic food. Groups promote sustainable and healthy living amongst both young and old by eating organic fruit and veg, composting and getting fresh air and exercise.

The idea of community allotments took off following a successful pilot in Halliwell in 1997 and by 2004 the Lancashire Wildlife Trust was supporting 14 active projects involving at least 150 volunteers a week in Bolton, Wigan, Salford, Blackburn and Burnley. The long term viability of the projects depends on building capacity within the community groups and volunteer networks so that they can become fully constituted and organisationally self-standing.

Restore’s funding helped achieve this in the Bolton area by purchasing crucial equipment including tools, access to information and allotment rental.

Ebernoe Common habitat protection

One of 30 Sussex Wildlife Trust nature reserves, Ebernoe Common is a National Nature Reserve just north of Petworth in West Sussex. The 76 hectare site comprises ancient woodland with glades, ponds and architectural remains, which support an amazing and diverse variety of fauna and flora.

It is home to 13 of the 16 species of bat which occur in the UK, including the rare Bechstein’s and barbastelle bats. In 2002 Restore Our Planet provided a grant to Sussex Wildlife Trust to help purchase redundant farmland adjacent to Ebernoe Common. This redundant farmland will be managed with minimum intervention allowing natural regeneration of woodland areas. These will develop over time into pasture woodland to be managed by the reintroduction of grazing.

This is a long-term project and in time the more newly acquired land will develop the same biodiversity as the ancient woodland.

Malling Down Habitat protection

Only 3-5% of the South Downs remains in a species-rich state. Malling Down Nature Reserve is a 38.1 hectare reserve forming part of the Lewes Downs SAC/SSSI, situated just East of Lewes. It is one of the jewels in the crown of The South Downs.

In December 2001 Restore Our Planet provided match funding which has enabled the purchase of 98 acres of adjacent land, doubling the size of the reserve. The redundant farmland that was purchased, some of which had been in set-aside for 10 years, has benefited greatly from management by grazing. This has resulted in seeds from the downland plants starting to populate the newer areas and increasing the biodiversity.

In November 2002 a further donation was made, which has assisted the Trust in appointing a Conservation Grazing Officer to manage the Trust’s flock of sheep.

Filsham Bittern project

The SSSI – Filsham reed-bed is the largest reed bed in Sussex, tucked away in the Combe Haven valley between Bexhill and Hastings. It is a large patchwork of reed-bed, sedge swamp, rushes and open water.

The valley is an important migration route for birds, and the reedbed is a crucial stopping off point for thousands of swallows and warblers, and much rarer species such as marsh harrier and bittern. Unusual plants such as frogbit, water violet and the insectivorous bladderwort flourish wherever enough light reaches the water surface.

In the year 2000 Restore Our Planet contributed match funding in order to help finance phase 2 of an ambitious project to improve the water management of the site.

Stanton Grasslands Project

Restore contributed to the acquisition by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust of 90 acres of high quality grassland habitat in north-east Staffordshire. Unimproved grassland is a nationally declining habitat and has been recognised as being of great importance in both national and local Bio-diversity Action Plans. Thorswood, the land for sale, represented a significant landholding within the Stanton Grassland project area.

It demonstrates a number of habitat types and is almost unique in Staffordshire, supporting acidic, neutral, and calcareous grassland within the same site. Although a significant area of the land was listed as a Grade 1 site, it did not receive statutory protection and in the hands of other landowners could have been agriculturally improved and the diverse grassland community lost forever.

Water Vole habitat restoration

Active during the day, water voles are most likely to be seen swimming or running around river banks busily collecting grasses, sedges, and reeds to fill their underground larders. The water vole’s natural habitat is being eroded by development and climate change, fragmented by uninformed recreational use of the waterways and their surroundings, and further destroyed by pollution.

This human influence has lead to the dramatic decline in the water vole population. Urgent work is now required to restore the relevant habitat and link these to encourage the preservation and spread of the species. The water vole has defenses against its natural predators such as foxes and herons from whom the vole can normally escape by swimming or burrowing. However, a serious threat to its survival, the American Mink, has been introduced by man. The Mink swims better than the Vole and the female is small enough to follow the vole into its burrow.

Restore Our Planet is helping the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust both to restore and protect the voles natural habitat, and liaise with landowners and more generally raise people`s awareness as to the issues.

The Organic Farm Woodland project

The UK has lost 50% of its ancient woodland since the 1930’s. Without woodlands flora and fauna that benefit from these diverse habitats become threatened. Agriculture has a crucial part to play in the restoration of our woodland habitats. For most of its history agriculture was intertwined with forestry but over the last 300 years they separated and intensified.

Conventional agriculture has contributed to the deforestation of the land and many foresters have replaced high density broadleaf trees with low conservation value conifers. Organic farming is now recognised as the leading environmental solution for a living working countryside.

The Organic Farm Woodland Project is designed to help protect and preserve woodland habitats by researching and developing new guidelines to enable farmers to integrate woodland management as part of their whole-farm system.

Restore Our Planet have contributed to the overall development of this excellent project.

Tree Planting in the South West

The Silvanus Trust exists to develop the viable and sustainable management of small woodlands in the South West of England for the benefit of local communities, the beauty of the landscape and the wildlife.

With their guidance Restore Our Planet have funded the planting of more than 4,000 indigenous broadleaf trees in the area.

Restoring and managing Riparian Woodlands

Scottish Native Woods are an organisation pioneering working with local people to restore native woodlands in Scotland. Scotland’s native woodlands have been reduced from covering about 75%, to around 2% of land area.

These woodlands are a rich wildlife habitat, and support many threatened species, such as red squirrel, black grouse and pearl bordered fritillary butterfly. In all 127 woods involving over 10,000 acres are now being restored by the organisation.

Restore Our Planet have supported their work on Riparian woodlands (those growing alongside rivers, burns and lochs). Their value for nature conservation and landscape are exceptional; most importantly they are often the only native woodands remaining in upland landscapes and therefore the last refuge for regional woodland species. They play a crucial role in helping maintain the health and productivity of lochs and burns; they protect river banks control erosion, capture and recycle mineral nutrients and increase biodiversity

Save our Squirrels

The Save our Squirrels project is the largest single species conservation initiative in the UK. The aim of the project is to deliver the North of England Red Alert Squirrel Strategy by protecting and conserving the red squirrel in the counties of Northumberland, Cumbria and Lancashire.

This strategy builds on comprehensive squirrel ecology and distribution research undertaken by Dr. Peter Lurz, at the University of Newcastle, and Professor John Gurnell, at the University of London. This research identified sixteen key reserve areas where the adoption of careful habitat management will ensure the continued presence of red squirrels over the medium to long-term.

Save our Squirrels has three main aims: To raise the profile and plight of the red squirrel. To undertake habitat management and squirrel conservation activities with landowners and managers in the sixteen reserves and surrounding areas. To secure the long-term sustainability of red squirrel conservation.

Restore Our Planet has provided funding to provide traps and equipment for local volunteer groups to help control the number of grey squirrels threatening the red squirrel through competition for food and habitat and probably through transmission of the squirrelpox virus. Since the original grant, several new voluntary groups have formed in Northumbria as well as the `umbrella organisation` Northern Red Squirrels ( NRS ).

Restore Our Planet has therefore agreed additional funding to not only provide traps and equipment but also training workshops to help the planning and coordination of grey squirrel control in these new areas which now includes Cumbria.

Hedgerow protection

Hedgerows are a popular and attractive feature of many localities. Well-managed, they are vital wildlife habitats. For birds, they provide nesting sites in spring and summer insect food throughout the year, as well as seeds and berries in late summer and autumn.
Often, hedgerows are cut or flailed at the wrong time of year, and/or flailed excessively. Support from Restore Our Planet enabled the RSPB to mobilise 2,000 letter writers. They were provided with background information and encouraged to write to local authorities to call for better practice in hedgerow management.

House sparrows in schools

The house sparrow – one of our commonest and most familiar birds – has declined by two thirds since 1970.

The ‘House Sparrows in Schools Project’ supported by Restore Our Planet had four main aims: To raise awareness in schools of the importance of house sparrow populations and make links to the wider issues of decline in familiar countryside birds; to involve children in a practical conservation project in school grounds; to deliver practical conservation measures to sustain house sparrow populations; and to pilot a summer House Sparrow breeding survey.

50 primary schools across East Anglia were provided with nest boxes, and free food for 3 years. They were also provided with I’m in Trouble information packs and a fun assembly presentation. Restore fully funded the nest boxes, bird tables and school mailing.

Tree Sparrow Recovery Project

The tree sparrow is one of the farmland bird species which has showed the most severe declines. According to data from the common birds census collected by the British Trust for Ornithology, this species saw a 90% decline in the UK since 1970, though numbers have begun rising in recent years.

While we work with farmers to provide more food and nesting habitats naturally in the wider countryside, there is evidence to suggest that feeding and the provision of nestboxes can help to sustain tree sparrow populations. To this end, Restore Our Planet supported the RSPB’s ‘Tree Sparrow Recovery Project’ in East Anglia to provide nest boxes and supplementary feeding for tree sparrows across fifteen sites to help sparrow populations across the region.

The Million Ponds Project

Freshwater Habitats Trust is the national charity dedicated to protecting freshwater life for everyone to enjoy. They carry out research, promote practical action, give advice and lobby policy makers to ensure that freshwater wildlife and habitats have a secure future.

The Million Ponds Project initiative aims to reverse a century of loss and decline in Britain`s ponds, so that once again we have a million ponds in the British countryside. The project will bring clean water back to many landscapes and create vital new wildlife habitats. The first 4 years of the project ran from 2008-2012 and within this time funded new ponds and pond complexes for threatened freshwater plants and animals, provided technical and on the ground support, engaged with and trained a range of stakeholders and raised the profile of ponds and their value in the media and with policy makers across England and Wales.

Restore Our Planet provided support for the creation of ponds for BAP species by providing match funding for 53 ponds at 13 sites in Wales. The ponds were specifically designed for species including Water Vole, Otter, Common Toad, Great Crested Newt, protected bats and rare plants like Pillwort and Three-lobed Crowfoot.

Swangey Fen SSS

Swangey Fen is an ancient wet woodland site of special scientific Interest at Attleborough, Norfolk on the banks of the river Thet, an area regularly visited by Otters. The Otter Trust have restored and maintained this site. Over the years areas of open fen have been colonised by Alder, Ash, Birch, and Sallow, blocking the light and drying out the peat.

The aim of the management program is to restore the open fen conditions from over 100 years ago, when peat was dug and wood removed to provide fuel for the poor of the area, reed was cut to provide animal bedding, and in the resultant wet, low nutrient peat and good light rushes, orchids, and many different sedges thrived. Shallow ponds typical of those left by ancient peat digging, are dug to further increase biodiversity.

The wealth of other wildlife especially birds, plants and invertebrates includes both roe and red deer. In order to maintain the 47 acre site the fen areas need to be mown and raked at least once every two years.

Restore Our Planet funded the purchase of a rotary mower and brushcutters and power-rake to help the Otter Trust in this work.

The Blue Butterfly Scheme

Restore Our Planet has supported this innovative project which was devised to address the alarming decline of wildflower grassland in the UK – a 97% loss since 1937 – by working with Local Authorities to manage, restore and create wildflower meadows across the County and beyond.

Managed sympathetically grasslands can be composed of a diverse range of attractive wildflowers that support a wealth of wildlife. However, many grassland areas are intensively managed ‘green deserts’, containing little value for wildlife.

The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has been instrumental in promoting better management of grassland, to local authorities, private landowners and businesses with the aim of making a significant contribution to UK biodiversity.

Natural Connections – Education & Community work in Mansfield

Mansfield District has a number of rare habitat types of international importance. However, a majority of local people are unaware of their existence and in fact have a negative opinion of the local natural environment.

Restore Our Planet has helped fund this project, which aims to co-ordinate local groups, and most importantly schools, to change this perception, encourage local people to feel more positive about their local environment and encourage their involvement in the management of Local Nature Reserves (LNRs).

Working with individuals, community groups and schools the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s project officer has co-ordinated the establishment of volunteer groups, organised guided walks, open days and other events to engage local people in the management and enjoyment of their local environment.

Natural Connections Mansfield has been one of the success stories for nature conservation in the County. Not only by providing a sustainable infrastructure for the preservation of valuable areas through the designation and protection of local green spaces, but also the fact that the project has been able to encourage so many people to take part in the protection of their local environment.

Besthorpe Heron Colony

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust have been studying grey heron chicks at Besthorpe Nature Reserve, since 1996. From the outset it was apparent that there was a problem at the heronry, and during the checking of nests dead and sick chicks with multiple fractures of the leg and wing bones were regularly found.

Restore funded the trust to send these corpses to the Institute of Zoology for post-mortem examination in order to establish possible causes of the problem. The dead grey heron chicks were found to be suffering with metabolic bone disease (rickets). Blood samples from the chicks found that the affected grey herons had high levels of Polychlorinated Biphenyls PCB’s (controlled industrial waste products) which are probably the cause of the deformities.

Wittenham Wetlands Project

The Northmoor Trust has monitored amphibian populations for over twenty years and has a unique body of knowledge. The project will look to create a landscape exceptionally rich in amphibians and other wetland species.

It will be based around an extremely important existing site for herptiles and odonata- the Wittenham Clumps SAC and SSSI. Existing wetland habitat will be restored and enhanced and will diversify by creating new wetland habitat including ponds wet woodland and wetland scrapes in the immediately surrounding area. Over a wider landscape it will look to create new populations of amphibian species by appropriate habitat management.

The project will directly benefit two UK BAP priority habitats, ponds and wet woodland and two species, the Great Crested Newt and the Common Toad. It will indirectly benefit three priority species of bats including Noctule and Brown long-eared, five birds including Linnet and Reed Bunting and a number of invertebrates.

The project is located within one of a suite of priority areas identified by the Oxfordshire Nature Conservancy Forum ( ONCF ) for biodiversity work at a landscape scale and will therefore form part of a wider vision to create a network of biodiversity hotspots along the Thames Valley.

Sinodun Hills Landscape Biodiversity Project

The Sinodun Hills Project uses a landscape approach to conservation, by taking an existing site of high conservation value, the Wittenham Clumps, north east of Didcot, and extending semi-natural habitats outwards from it into the surrounding working landscape.

The project will restore and recreate 37 hectares of wildlife-rich lowland meadow.This will be achieved through grazing with native hardy breeds of cattle and sheep,implementing suitable hay-cutting regimes, turf removal and reseeding, broadcasting wildflower seed, green hay spreading and plug planting.

By creating this area of species rich neutral grassland, this project will make a direct and appreciable contribution to the recovery of this priority habitat. It will also guarantee benefits to BAP priority species present on site,such as the skylark, pipistrelle bat and hornet robber fly.

Restore Our Planet has provided Third Party Funding to ensure this project is able to proceed.

Paradise Wood

The Earth Trust aims to promote and inspire wildlife and countryside conservation in Oxfordshire and beyond.Their key project objectives are to: develop and build on the national leadership in walnut and oak species, develop their research and forestry demonstration functions, to demonstrate the national biodiversity benefits of managing broadleaved plantations for timber production; promote the importance of the forestry industry within a sustainable countryside.

To this end they purchased 55 hectares of land at College Farm in order to establish a new woodland and centre for forestry research called Paradise Wood. The wood is situated on a flat former Floodplain in Oxfordshire. The first trees were planted in the winter of 1992 and by the end of 2000 42,000 trees had been planted across 21ha the completed woodland will cover 45-50 hectares and will comprise 75% broadleaves, 10% conifers, 5% coppice and 10% open ground.In 2001 Restore provided a specialist tractor to help manage Paradise Wood and funding to produce publicity material for the project.

Restore funded the purchase of a new Holland TC27D Tractor which has significantly aided the work of the Earth Trust across its 300 hectare estate. It’s compact size and maneuverability enables a range of important tasks to be carried out from the transport of livestock using a trailer or link box through to the important task of mowing between trees in the Trust’s research wood and newly planted Trafalgar Wood site.

Hunters Moon Tree Nursery

Launched thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund`s Breathing Places programme and as part of the Dartington Estate Landscape project, this exciting tree nursery project started in summer 2008. The project has four strands – tree growing, biodiversity, community and education – all feeding into the main aim of Moor Trees, the restoration of native UK woodland.

Restore Our Planet has agreed to help fund the next stage of the project at Hunters Moon near Dartington in Devon. The first batch of locally collected tree seed (predominantly acorns) have been sown in the newly created raised beds. These will ultimately be lifted as saplings (`whips`) and planted in local ancient woodlands. Other species to be grown include Ash, Birch, Hazel, Rowan and Hawthorn.

A wet area, wildlife hedgerow, bird boxes and insect habitats have also been introduced at the site. The local community has been engaged through volunteers of all ages working at the site each week while various volunteering and practical conservation courses will be made available to people of all abilities.

Tree planting at Longworth, Oxfordshire

Longworth residents, with the co-operation of Longworth Parish Council, are proposing to plant a mixture of native trees and large shrubs on land adjoining Longworth Manor.

The objectives are to provide a small amenity woodland for the benefit of the public and local schoolchildren, encouraging them to appreciate the local flora and fauna whilst at the same time increasing biodiversity through the enhancement of the local environment.

A comprehensive list of tree species will be planted including Alder, Silver Birch Beech, Ash and Wild Cherry. The mix is designed to contain species which will provide a visually attractive, wildlife friendly environment.

Restore has provided the funding to purchase the seedlings.

Lydden and Temple Ewell Hedgerow

Lydden and Temple Ewell as a reserve has received a number of classifications including National Nature Reserve, the highest classification granted by the UK government. It is also a SSSI, a Site of nature conservation interest (SNCI) and a special area of conservation (SAC).

The reserve is made up of chalk grassland and woodland with a wide tange of flora and fauna including a notable display of orchids, also dyer’s greenweed, cowslip and yellow-wort. The area is excellent at attracting insects and butterflies such as the chalk hill blues and the silver spotted skipper.

There is also a well established colony of wart-biter bush crickets. Restore Our Planet has funded the establishment of a hedgerow on the site as well as feature trees hedging plants and other restorative work. This will incorporate over 2000 hedging trees, including hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn and dog-rows, which will provide an ideal habitat for fieldmice, voles and hedgehogs.

Ham Fen habitat restoration

Ham Fen between Sandwich and Dover, is the last remaing fen land in South East England. Currently only 30 hectares of this fenland remain at the site which has been designated as an SSSI. Much of the original fenland has reverted to scrubland through neglect.

Restore helped support the Kent Wildlife Trust in their project to restore this scarce fen habitat. This required clearing land, excavating to the level of the summer water table and introducing sluices in order to regulate the level required to maintain a healthy fenland habitat. Soil barriers were also needed to prevent flooding into the surrounding areas.

Environmental benefits of this restoration are significant with species benefitting including spoonbill, balck tail godwit corn crake, southern marsh orchid, marsh frittillary butterfly and water vole.

Woolhope Dome habitat restoration

Herefordshire is said by many to be England’s most rural county, and within this beautiful county the Woolhope Dome,an area of wooded hills to the south east of Hereford is one of the most unspoilt areas. The rolling hills are covered by a patchwork of small fields, orchards and woodlands. The ancient winding lanes are enclosed by dense hedges containing many statuesque veteran trees, often apple trees hosting a mass of mistletoe.

Many of the species found in the Woolhope Dome area are listed for conservation both in the UK and Herefordshire Biodiversity Action Plans. Though the local area supporting them requires a co-ordinated habitat restoration exercise due to degradation resulting from agricultural intensification and/or neglect. These habitats include ancient semi-natural woodland, semi-natural grassland, traditional orchards, streams and hedgerows.

Restore Our Planet has helped fund the following priorities within the project: Improvements to existing wildlife habitats, new habitat creation to increase the total area of existing habitats, and habitat management/creation to form links between habitats. This includes hedgerows, shelter belts, field margins, streams buffer zones and roadside verges.

Hook Common habitat restoration

Hook Common is 73 hectares of common land in NE Hampshire comprising neglected heathland and ancient woodland.

A 3 year plan for renovation had been drawn up to restore this SSSI, one of the few surviving areas of open wet heath which survive in the Thames Basin. It will require careful management and liaison with the local community to achieve the necessary restoration.

Restore helped the community’s efforts by funded the removal of unwanted debris, including burnt out cars.

Bee Buddies

Groundwork Sheffield`s Bee Buddies project responds to the national crisis of Honeybee population decline and the lack of awareness surrounding the plight of the Honeybee. 33% of Honeybee colonies were lost in 2009. The British Bee Keeping Association ( BBKA ) has stated that if action is not taken Honeybees will disappear from Britain by 2018.

Honeybees are vital to our survival. They allow 70% of flowering plants to reproduce, accounting for over 30% of the foods and beverages we consume. Without the pollination they provide we will face higher food costs and potential food shortages.

Restore Our Planet is funding the installation of 5 Honeybee hives on the roof of Weston Park Museum in central Sheffield. The museum serves as a prime location to engage the public about the Honeybee`s plight and demonstrate that bees can thrive in cities. Overall the project will see the introduction of 35 hives and the creation of 20,000m2 of Honeybee habitat.

The bee buddies project aims to restore Honeybee populations by installing domestic hives on underused urban spaces such as balconies and green roofs. This will improve local biodiversity and pollination rates. The hives will be used to train a new generation of bee keepers and educate local schools on local food production and bee keeping.

Community woodland education – UK

This is an environmental education charity based in East Anglia. They have many projects across the UK with the goal of ‘bringing communities to life through local action and creative education’.

In 2007 they have 35 projects around the country from Scarborough to Margate. Obtaining 55.9ha of land creating space for 44,000 trees. With their 5 step education rolling program they help children understand the role of trees and woodlands. All educational activities are directly linked to the national curriculum.

Restore has contributed to their ‘Spadeworks’ tree planting program which offers pupils the chance to improve their school’s surroundings.

Lower Woods Nature Reserve – sustainable woodland management

At over two miles long Lower Woods Nature Reserve is one of England’s largest oak-ash woods on heavy clay soils, and a paradise for wildlife.

The area was given over to the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust in 1996 on behalf of the nation. The reserve, a few miles north of Chipping Sodbury is now managed for nature conservation and environmental education.

Restore has helped provide funding to assist the Trust in developing a showcase of sustainable woodland management at this site.

The School Ponds and Natural Habitats for Learning Project

The School Ponds and Natural Habitats for Learning Project encourages schools to develop and use their own wildlife ponds, providing habitat for a variety of species including frogs.

The three schools chosen are The Moat in Gloucester, Arthur Dye in Cheltenham and Severnbanks in Lydney.

Ashleworth Ham and Meerend Thicket Nature Reserve

Ashleworth Ham and Meerend Thicket Nature Reserve lies in the flood plain of the Severn Vale, to the north east of Ashleworth Village and approximately 8 miles from Cheltenham.

The reserve is part of a much larger SSSI, the remnant of an extensive area of wet meadow land. Access to the reserve is prohibited and birds may only be viewed from hides and a viewing screen in Meerend Thicket.

An extensive program of work supported by Restore Our Planet has included replacing the viewing screens and the bird hides, creating new scrapes and a grassland mosaic for breeding waders, laying hedges and ditch re-profiling. The sponsored activity has also included a plant and invertebrate survey, and the installation of sluice valves and pump.

Sherracombe Wood broadleaf forest restoration

Sherracombe wood is a 30 hectare woodland mostly comprised of conifers near Brayford on the western edge of the Exmoor National Park in Devon.

It has been acquired by the Badgeworthy Land company with the objective of enhancing its biodiversity and landscape. A 5 year restoration plan was prepared to provide a detailed framework for the removal of the conifer plantation and the restoration of the ancient broadleaf woodland, heathland and other habitats.

Restore Our Planet has supported the conifer clearance, broadleaf planting and associated restoration work.

Ludwell Valley Park Hedgerow restoration

Over 5 years the Ludwell Valley park restoration project will restore a country park to the south-east of Exeter on the fringe of one of the largest housing estates in the south-west. Restore Our Planet has supported this project which will have a huge impact on the local biodiversity and will ensure the site is protected from future development.

The majority of hedgerows in the park are overgrown and in many parts represent a thin line of trees rather than thick bushy hedgerow. The restoration plan involves laying or ‘steeping’ 2000m of overgrown hedgerow combined with interplanting using a variety of shrub species to combat loss due to disease.

Exeter City Council’s six countryside valley parks on the city’s urban fringe represent an important and easily accesssible resource. Ludwell park is not at present rich in wildlife, the hedgerow restoration and tree planting that Restore have financed will assist in rapidly building up a strong food based chain of the sort required to reinvigorate local biodiversity.

Many of the UK’s native mammals such as mice, voles, shrews, stoats, rabbitsnd badgers make their homes in hedgerows. 5 birds of prey species are regularly observed in the park including Barn Owls. Reed buntings and cirl buntings are also present aswell as a number of species of bat and butterfly.

School Flutter Flower Programme

The aim of the School Flutter Flower project is to create wildflower habitats in School grounds and in communities all over the UK. This is designed to complement the School Tree Nursery Programme ( STNP ) supported by Restore Our Planet for a number of years.

The decline in wildflower environments can be attributed to a number of issues. Changes in land use via `conventional` farming which uses herbicides and insecticides coupled with machines that allow vast areas of former meadows to be ploughed up or cut for silage before wildflowers can set seed; human population increase resulting in increased building development; traditional cottage gardens being substituted for ornamental non-native plants.

Almost any area of ground can be restored with plants appropriate for any soil types with a sunny or shady aspect. Hedgerows, ponds, stony ground and wooded areas can all be enhanced with wild grasses, sedges and flowers. This would also help to boost dwindling invertebrate populations including butterflies. Earth Restoration Service will assess each area by putting forward a biological feasibility study for each school to see what soil type and habitats already exist.

Plants already on site will be recorded then appropriate native wild plants introduced. Restore Our Planet will annually liaise with ERS regarding respective requirements for both this Programme and STNP.

School Tree Nursery Programme

Evolving from the international “Restore the Earth” conference held in Scotland in 2002, Earth Restoration Service (ERS) was founded in 2004 and became a Registered Charity in early 2007. ERS`s vision for a global effort to restore the life sustaining capacity of the planet calls for positive action by all the world`s citizens to play their part in restoring the natural health of their own environments.

To that end, ERS encourages the participation of communities, organisations and individuals in a network of ecosystem restoration projects in the UK and around the world. The combined aim of the UK School Tree Nurseries (STNs) is to provide trees for restoration of locally degraded environments such as flood land, eroded countryside and neglected inner city areas, and to educate and support the children, adults and communities involved.

STNs are created within school grounds, with children participating in raising saplings in a nursery environment, giving them both a sense of achievement and tangible environmental educational benefit. Once saplings have reached the correct maturity, ERS arranges their planting out by the children in co-ordination with local council authorities, identifying the most appropriate places, generally barren areas prone to erosion or degraded city areas.

In 2008 a total of 25 schools across the country were supplied with native trees and now further funding has been provided in both 2009 and 2010.

The Brownsea Island habitat

The Brownsea Island Saline Lagoon near Poole harbour in Dorset has been awarded RAMSCAR and SAC status. Under the stewardship of the Dorset Wildlife Trust it has become an internationally important site for nesting common tern (n.248pairs), sandwich tern (n.213 pairs) and for wintering avocet (n.870) and black-tailed godwit (n.1200).

Habitat destruction of the nesting and wintering birds, due to development in Poole Harbour was increasing the need for extra nesting capacity at the site. The birds are attracted to the lagoon by the creation of islands which provide ideal nesting conditions and reduce disturbance and predation. Restore Our Planet funded the construction of two new ‘tern islands’ and also general improvement of the nearby reedbed to enhance the surrounding habitat and lead to greater numbers of waders feeding in winter and improved gull nesting. The project proved a remarkable success with Sandwich terns immediately using the newly constructed islands. Brownsea Saline lagoon now hosts between 1%-2% of all nationally nesting terns and 0.5% of the entire world’s population (12,000 pairs) of black headed gulls.

Purchase of Winfrith Heath: SSSI

Winfrith Heath comprises 255 acres of beautiful heathland situated between Dorchester and Poole. It was extremely vulnerable to development or mineral extraction activities. Restore Our Planet helped fund Dorset Wildlife Trust to purchase the area to ensure its preservation, restoration and continued mangement.Restoration and management work has continued ever since the Trust acquired the nature reserve. This includes the checking of encroachment by birch and pine and coppicing to encourage heathland regeneration.

The main new challenge is the return of grazing, and in order to improve the interest of the open heath – cattle and ponies (the original ‘heath croppers’) are being reintroduced. For the visitor, the David Limb Trail now forms the start of a long circular walk which takes ramblers from Winfrith Heath, across the Tadnoll Brook and meadows, and on to the heath at Tadnoll and back.

Crag House Farm nature conservation

Crag House Farm is the centre for a conservation project for the benefit of disadvantaged and disabled people in the Leeds area.

Having already established a coppice with ash, hazel, osier and lime, extensive hedging, three ponds and a wetland area we are now funding the planting of a wildflower meadow, and further restoration of the natural flora of the local woodland.

Rowland Wood- Restoration and Management

Butterfly Conservation has purchased Rowland Wood, an 80 acre woodland which is part of the famous Vert Wood complex 2 kms south of East Hoathly, East Sussex which supports the last remaining colony of the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary in South East England. Vert Wood is also considered one of the best moth sites in the country due to the mix of ancient woodland, heathland habitat and its overall size.

The neighbouring woodland also holds breeding adders, raven, hobby and nightjar. Rare moths include Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth and White-spotted Sable ( Anania funebris ). The purchase of the wood was made possible by the generous legacy from Miss Pamela Lewis in memory of her mother and father, however additional funding is now required to pay for urgent woodland management.

It is planned to widen rides, create open glades and to remove some of the denser conifer plantations which are shading out large areas of potentially good butterfly habitat. Restore Our Planet has provided a grant to assist in the purchase of a suitable piece of equipment to help carry out this work.

Morecambe Bay Limestone Hills Conservation

The Morecambe Bay Limestone Hills are the single most important area for butterflies in northern England. This area is the national stronghold for the High Brown Fritillary, a UK BAP Priority Species and one of our most threatened species.

The Morecambe Bay Limestone Hills also support important populations of six other rare and threatened butterflies, the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Northern Brown Angus, Duke of Burgundy, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Dingy Skipper and the Grayling.

The Cumbria branch of Butterfly Conservation organises 10 conservation work parties in this area every year but without the necessary equipment progress can be limited as they struggle to keep pace with scrub growth that is overwhelming the butterfly`s habitat, shading out the nectar sources and the caterpillar food plants.

Restore Our Planet has agreed to provide the funding for the purchase of all required equipment.

Grafton Wood Restoration

Grafton Wood in Worcestershire, is the largest of the remnants of Feckenham wood, comprising 150 acres of hazel and ash coppice with oak standards. For the benefit of endangered local biodiversity and especially the nationally endangered Brown Hairstreak butterfly we have helped fund the reintroduction of coppice management and the reopening up of the rides to allow more light to reach the woodland floor. This is encouraging a better flora and therefore more invertebrates such as butterflies.

The Brown Hairstreak butterfly is now extinct from all surrounding counties and survives only in this small corner of Worcestershire breeeding on the sloe bushes around the edges of Grafton Wood and also on blackthorn hedgerows in the surrounding fields.

Woodland restoration including that by neighbouring landowners will continue to greatly assist the preservation of this species.

The Amphibian Sanctuary Project

Earth is facing its largest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs with amphibians particularly threatened with up to half their species in danger. Not only are they affected by habitat loss, climate change, pollution and pesticide but they face an even bigger threat from a deadly parasitic fungus known as amphibian chytrid.

Bristol Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Europe, founded in 1836. It is now a leading education and conservation charity making a significant contribution to conservation in the wild both overseas and in the UK, such as breeding and re-introducing two native species-the Barberry carpet moth and the water vole.

The objective of the Amphibian Sanctuary is to provide a biosecure unit capable of breeding groups of endangered amphibians, while protecting them from the fungus. Also to increase awareness and understanding of amphibian conservation and to integrate the breeding programme with a field project examining how to mitigate the threats in the wild.

It is hoped the project will secure the long-term survival of at least two amphibian species whilst at the same time developing a greater understanding of the amphibian crisis.

Orchard Creation

The Barn Owl Trust carries out a wide range of important activities in pursuit of its main aim, the conservation of the Barn Owl and its environment. This includes practical conservation work, scientific research, the production and distribution of educational material, school visits and the operation of a free national information and advice service and welfare facilities for sick and injured owls.

At the reserve at Waterleat in Devon the Trust is looking to re-plant an old orchard with traditional varieties of apples. This will provide a great source of food all year round for small mammals and in turn Barn Owls. The orchard will be situated next to a 25 acre plot of rough grassland which is ideal hunting habitat. Restore Our Planet have agreed to fund the scrub clearance where the orchard will be located and the purchase of the appropriate trees.

Permanent Christmas Tree for Bancyfelin

Bancyfelin is a rural village of c. 110 houses located 5 miles west of Carmarthen. Over recent years a number of new homes have been built in the village and the number of pupils at the local school has risen significantly. Each year the residents of Bancyfelin obtain a 20/25ft Christmas tree for the village and this is decorated by the St. Clears Town Council. When Christmas is over the tree is removed and taken to the local bakery as wood used to heat the ovens.

An environmentally friendly and less wasteful method of providing the annual Christmas tree has been explored and as a result the Bancyfelin Education Community Trust has decided a permanent tree would be an asset to the village environment all year round.

Restore Our Planet has agreed to fund the purchase of the tree with ongoing maintenance to be undertaken by members of the Bancyfelin village hall.

On completion of the tree purchase and planting a small cash surplus has allowed the village to improve its western approach by organising a further planting of trees on a strip of available land.