Project information

The Wildlife Trust’s Living Landscapes

A Living Landscape is a recovery plan for nature championed by The Wildlife Trusts. It is a new way of thinking about how we manage land to do more for wildlife and people. The Wildlife Trust BCN has 10 Living Landscape projects aimed at making our nature reserves bigger, better and more joined up.

April 2013 - March 2014

Charity information: The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire Northamptonshire

The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire Northamptonshire logo
  • Need


    Over the last 100 years, demands on land for agriculture and development in the UK have meant that wildlife rich areas, like woods, wetlands and meadows have dramatically decreased in extent. A recent State of Nature report reveals that 60% of species studied have declined over recent decades, and more than one in ten of those assessed are under threat of disappearing altogether. People too lack access to quality green space. This is bad for our health, happiness and also bad for our future.


    The key concept behind a Living Landscape is that small, isolated habitats cannot sustain species in the long term. The Wildlife Trust BCN’s Living Landscape projects aim to: maintain and enhance wildlife-rich areas; recreate wildlife habitat, connecting these fragments together to allow wildlife to move through the landscape; and enable local communities to access, enjoy and understand the natural environment around them.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To create bigger nature reserves with more diverse habitats and larger populations of wildlife.


    » To acquire land within our project areas, enabling the expansion of our existing nature reserves.
    » To work with others including local governments, communities & charities to create partnership projects that protect & enhance the natural environment

    Success will be... The acquisition of land of high conservation value within our project areas and of lower quality land adjacent to existing nature reserves to expand their size.

    Aim 2

    To continue to improve our nature reserve management.


    » To improve the scientific basis of our work through research into habitat management and on-going monitoring and wildlife surveys.
    » To increase the time we can afford to spend on each nature reserve, enabling more refined management work and the creation of local microhabitats.
    » Through the enlargement and greater connectivity of our nature reserves to improve their management through economies of scale.

    Success will be... Legally protected nature reserves in favourable condition according to statutory external assessment and the Trust’s own Condition Assessment methodology.

    Aim 3

    To join up our nature reserves enabling wildlife to spread northwards with climate change.


    » To acquire land within our project areas, enabling the connection of our existing nature reserves.
    » To work with others including local governments, communities & charities to create partnership projects that protect & enhance the natural environment
    » To advise other land-owners, especially owners of Local Wildlife Sites, on the better management of their land for wildlife.
    » To encourage businesses, homeowners and local communities to conserve wildlife on their land and in the local area.

    Success will be... Land acquisition between WT nature reserves and staff in each county meeting or exceeding the Trust’s Key Performance Indicators for Local Wildlife Sites.

    Aim 4

    To provide wild places for people to enjoy and explore in both urban and rural areas.


    » To increase the size and connectivity of our nature reserves in both rural and urban areas.
    » To improve the accessibility of our nature reserves to members of the public, in order to encourage more visitors.
    » To improve interpretation signs on our nature reserves to ensure people can learn about and understand the importance of the places they visit.
    » To increase the community engagement activities we are able to provide to local people and schools, ensuring that people value their local nature.

    Success will be... The Trust’s Engagement Survey Methodology shows high public satisfaction in our work. The provision of public access to land newly acquired, where possible.

  • Impact


    In a Living Landscape… wildlife is abundant and flourishing, both in the countryside and our towns and cities… ecosystems have been restored and wildlife is able to move freely through the landscape and adapt to the effects of climate change… communities are benefitting from the fundamental services that healthy ecosystems provide… everyone has access to wildlife-rich green spaces and can enjoy and be inspired by the natural world.


    The economic downturn has impacted on charities by reducing the availability of traditional funding sources. The Wildlife Trust BCN has responded to this by investing in new sources of income generation, such as major gifts and legacies. Other risks include urban development, agricultural intensification and lack of government buy-in. We have responded to these by working with local authority planners, advising landowners and lobbying government to implement wildlife friendly policies.


    This will be done via our website, e-newsletters, individual contact with supporters and through Local Wildlife, our thrice yearly member’s magazine. These materials will contain the latest news about our Living Landscape projects in each of our three counties.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £4,604,034

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,754,414 Nature Reserve Management Budgeted nature reserve management for 2013/14 on all 125 of our nature reserves
      £685,355 Wider Countryside Budgeted Wider Countryside Team work (advising landowners etc...) for 2013/14
      £627,553 Partnership projects Budgeted costs of partnership projects (eg. the Great Fen) to The Wildlife Trust BCN in 2013/14
      £615,885 Education & Community Budgeted education and community engagement work for 2013/14
      £391,467 Fundraising Budgeted Fundraising & Donor Development costs for 2013/14
      £529,360 Marketing & Governance Budgeted marketing, membership services and governance costs for 2013/14

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Predicted/Target voluntary, appeal and fundraising activity income for 2013/14 £3,738,353 Conditional
    Predicted investment income for 2013/14 £32,000 Conditional
    Income from charitable activites for 2013/14 £570,896 Guaranteed
    Income from farm and other rents £262,785 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Wildlife Trust BCN has identified 10 Living Landscape projects in our area. These are:
    -Limestone grassland in N. E. Northamptonshire and N.
    -Chalk grassland in the Bedfordshire Chilterns; and S.
    -Wet woodland, reedbed and meadows in the Great Fen project
    -Ancient woodland in W. Cambridgeshire; and N. E. Northamptonshire
    -Meadows and Gravel Pits along the Nene; & Ouse valleys
    -Heathlands and Moors on the greensand ridge and flit vale in Bedfordshire


    The Wildlife Trust BCN works for the wildlife and people of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough. Local wildlife & people are the key beneficiaries of our living landscapes focus. Wildlife will benefit from bigger, better and more joined-up nature reserves, while people will profit from the health and well-being benefits attributed to having quality green spaces on their doorstep.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Wildlife Trust BCN already manages 125 nature reserves and 95% of the population in our three counties lives within 5 miles of one of these reserves. We are the leading conservation charity protecting local wildlife in our three counties and have a long track record of delivering nature conservation and landscape scale projects, such as the award winning Great Fen project. This means we are ideally placed to implement our vision of a living landscape across our region.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Oliver Burke

    Oliver is Director of Living Landscapes at the Trust. He is responsible for overseeing the development of all 10 living landscape projects.

    Kate Carver

    Kate is Great Fen Project Manager. She describes her job as turning a breath-taking vision into reality.

    John Comont

    John has worked in conservation in Bedfordshire since 1986, both in local government and charities. He is our Bedfordshire Conservation Manager

    Heather Ball

    As Nene Valley Project Manager, Heather is responsible for the development of this Living Landscape. She has worked for the Trust since 2007.

Irthlingborough by John Abbott

Irthlingborough by John Abbott

“We must now work on a landscape scale if we are to give wildlife a chance and allow future generations to enjoy nature as we have.”

Sir David Attenborough