North Yorkshire nature reserve awarded £250,000 of National Lottery cash to improve habitats

A nature project in North Yorkshire has been awarded £250,000 to restore threatened natural habitats and get local people involved with nature.

The project, called “Ure Connected” will focus primarily on the Lower Ure Conservation Trust’s nature reserve at Nosterfield, near Ripon, where rare remnant areas of fen and magnesian limestone are in urgent need of attention.

Work, which will take place over two and a half years, starts on Monday and has been funded by National Lottery money.

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Other works will also take place at other sites in the River Ure catchment area which are in need of habitat restoration.

Nosterfield Nature ReserveNosterfield Nature Reserve
Nosterfield Nature Reserve

The aim is to benefit wildlife and also the communities that live near these areas, encouraging people to volunteer to help bring habitats to life.

Director of the Lower Ure Conservation Trust, Simon Warwick, said: “This is the biggest grant we have ever received and our success in getting this money to spend on our natural world is testament to the commitment and hard work of our Project Officer and her dedicated team of volunteers.

"Our animals, plants and invertebrate life have been poorly served by us humans in recent years. We are one of the most nature depleted countries in Europe.

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“In our small way, let’s hope this is the start of a fightback in this part of North Yorkshire. We are extremely grateful to the National Lottery players to have received this support.”

Habitat restoration work will focus on wetland and magnesian limestone, including working alongside English Heritage on the neighbouring neolithic monument, Thornborough Henges.

Sometimes described as the ‘Stonehenge of the North’, the henges have not only historical significance, but ecological value too due to it’s rare limestone flora.

The henges have been badly damaged in recent years and the Trust will work with English Heritage to restore ecological diversity to the Middle Henge by propagating and planting around 10,000 local provenance limestone plants.

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The funding will also allow the Trust to continue to deliver practical management at Nosterfield Nature Reserve and the range of habitats it has has conserved for species such as Bittern, Lapwing, Reed Bunting, Dingy Skipper and Tubular Water-dropwort.

A new role of Community Engagement Officer is being created which will focus on engaging groups not currently involved in nature conservation and move towards the Trust’s ambition to become a more inclusive heritage organisation.

Nosterfield Nature Reserve is the single most important site for breeding Lapwing and Redshank between the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales. Other regular red and amber listed breeding waders include Curlew, Avocet, Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher.