Wildlife Trusts funded to restore Nature's Cathedrals

Wildlife Trusts funded to restore Nature's Cathedrals

© Zsuzsanna Bird

The Wildlife Trusts in Wales are delighted to be awarded £2,746,600 from the Welsh Government’s Nature Networks Fund in partnership with the National Lottery’s Heritage Fund.

The aim of the Fund is to improve the condition and resilience of Wales’s protected sites, many of which are Wildlife Trust nature reserves. These nature reserves are recognised for the amazing wildlife that they support. They are nature's cathedrals - protected sites harbouring our wildlife. But like many cathedrals, they have fallen into disrepair and need restoring.

The protected sites network cover areas known as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs). These are unique places where rare and threatened species and habitats are protected and allowed to thrive.

The five Wildlife Trusts in Wales – Gwent, North Wales, Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire and South and West Wales will be using the funding to carry out vital work to improve the condition of protected sites across Wales. They will be working on a wide variety of projects that will protect threatened woodlands and grasslands and control invasive species that threaten Welsh species. Wildlife such as marine mammals, seabirds and rare birds of prey such as the osprey will also benefit.

Getting these sites into better condition is key to tackling the nature crisis. The ambition is to restore 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030. This funding will increase nature at these special sites, which in turn will benefit the local community and increase engagement with the natural world.

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Here’s what Graeme Cotterill, Fundraising Director at North Wales Wildlife Trust, had to say:

“North Wales Wildlife Trust are delighted to receive funding to support three separate areas of our work. This will include improving the resilience of a selection of North Wales’s woodland; controlling invasive non-native cotoneaster that threatens the region’s special limestone grasslands; and managing other invasive plant species along 45km of the River Dee and its tributaries.  Local communities will be a key part of our projects, whether in helping us undertake the work that will improve these wonderful places for wildlife or simply accessing them for recreation and wellbeing”.

We welcome this funding and also Welsh Government continued commitment to invest in these sites through Nature Networks. It’s hoped that over the next three years a further £45-£60 million will be invested.

Rachel Sharp Director of Wildlife Trusts Wales said:

“This is the type of investment needed to combat the nature crisis and restore these magnificent natural cathedrals. These sites are critical in our battle to restore nature and are much-loved sites used by people and nature alike. This is just the start of a long journey but with our partners and the support from the people of Wales, we hope to stop species from becoming extinct and secure a thriving natural world today and for the future.”

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