This shaggy old-fashioned valley is part of the Lake District UNESCO World Heritage Site. The traditional farming shaped the valley, and lots of the land is still farmed in ways that benefit nature. We have wilder areas like Great Mell Fell, amazing species rich wildflower meadows, lots of boggy places great for wading birds, and lots of species-rich grazed grassland. We also have a wide range of species that thrive here but are struggling elsewhere, like red squirrels, curlews and cuckoos.
But there are elements of our valley that we know can be much better - we can plant more trees, create more woodland pasture, maintain or improve our traditional nature-rich farmland habitats and micro-habitats, like hedges and hay meadows, make our soil healthier, and we can do a lot (in some appropriate places) to naturalise our rivers and streams and wetlands.
We have created a partnership of farmers and established a Community Interest Company to develop our plans and think about ways to work at a landscape-scale beyond individual farms.
We believe we can make huge progress on four key themes:
Natural flood management (NFM) - working to slow the flow of water out of our valley through measures like river re-wiggling and healthy wetlands
Planting trees (both in new woodland areas and on farmland) - to help with climate change and help biodiversity
Improving soil - both for water infiltration to reduce flooding, trapping carbon, and for its basis of the ecosystem through the soil food web
Key species support - we have an increasingly rare population of curlews and are taking advice on potentially protecting some of the nests and filming to identify the threats to fledglings
We would like your help and your donations to invest in habitat creation and restoration - specifically on the four issues outlined above. Your money would result in trees being planted, soil being improved through better land managment, or habitats being created, like a more natural river system.
In 2020 we will endeavour to have an open day for donors to see our projects. And will keep people posted through our Twitter page.
If you would like to be major donor or corporate sponsor of our project then please contact us - we have some great ideas.
6 things you might want to know:
1) the money will be held by the Ullswater Catchment Management Community Interest Company and used to pay for conservation works
2) any works undertaken will be with approval of relevant experts and the appropriate conservation bodies - e.g. Environment Agency or Natural England
3) none of the money will be spent on bureaucracy - though sometimes the Fund may pay for specialist advice to help ensure the investments are appropriate and sympathetic
4) any funds raised through this will be spent on things that aren’t being paid for by existing environmental funding
5) although James Rebanks (@herdyshepherd1) will promote this project - he will not receive any funds directly - and will only benefit if his land is an appropriate place for conservation investment - the intention is to use the funds across several farmer’s land
6) projects will be approved by a small working group created by Ullswater Catchment Management CIC
7) no landowner will be given money through the project - it will instead be spent on conservation works on their land
8) where possible all projects will be done through proper consultation with the leading conservation experts - to date we have taken guidance from organisations like the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Eden Rivers Trust