North Devon's Nature Needs YOU!

by North Devon Biosphere Foundation in Barnstaple, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 24th June 2019 we successfully raised £11,702 with 196 supporters in 35 days

To galvanise grassroots action to save North Devon’s world class environment for future generations.

by North Devon Biosphere Foundation in Barnstaple, England, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

Hooray – we’ve made it!!  Thank you so much everyone.

Your support for North Devon’s nature is overwhelming – and we’ve reached our target with several days to go!  You've shown how much our community cares about nature and the environment, and this will greatly help our request to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

We’d love your help to go an extra mile and have “stretched” our target to raise some additional funds for materials and equipment for restoring nature (eg. tree saplings, wildflower seeds, spades etc), to help cover the travel expenses of volunteer groups, and for an Awards scheme for the best volunteer contributions to nature’s recovery (a suggestion from one of our supporters).  If you have been thinking about donating but have not yet done so, your help to raise these extra funds would be amazing!  Thank you all again.

Culm Grassland

North Devon is loved by residents and visitors alike for its wonderful landscapes and nature, and recognised by UNESCO as the UK’s first modern Biosphere Reserve. However, the environment here is under intense pressure from rapid development and intensive land use. Nature is dwindling fast and needs urgent action. That’s why North Devon’s conservation groups are collectively planning to launch a new Pledge for Nature! initiative in Autumn 2019, but we can’t do it without your help.

Why is this so urgent?

North Devon’s local economy of agriculture, tourism, forestry and fisheries depends on the natural environment, and our natural systems are also crucial for tackling climate change and safeguarding future generations. Cuckoos, lapwings and curlews, once widespread across our farmed landscape, are heading towards local extinction. Salmon and freshwater pearl mussels in the Taw and Torridge rivers are in grave decline. Swifts, swallows, hedgehogs, bees and butterflies are struggling to thrive as they once did. More than 92% of our iconic flower-rich culm grassland has been destroyed over the past 100 years.

The declines of these “canaries” of our natural systems should be a wake-up call for everyone. Immediate action is needed to help North Devon’s nature to flourish again in our farmland, gardens, rivers and open spaces.

How can you help?

Our challenge is a big one. Small bands of dedicated volunteers, farmers and conservationists are already working to conserve nature – but their efforts are not enough. We truly believe it can only be solved by galvanising many more people who know and love the area in a coordinated action to make more space for nature. By donating today for the Pledge for Nature! initiative – you will be helping to:

  • improve nature in pastures and arable land - benefiting wildflowers and insects and helping birds like cuckoos, barn owls and skylarks
  • plant more trees and woodlands and manage our hedges better – to help a myriad of wildlife and the fight against climate change
  • make gardens and public spaces more wildlife-friendly – so that butterflies and bees, hedgehogs and slow-worms can flourish
  • improve the quality of our rivers, streams and estuary - so they become thriving ecosystems, once more full of salmon, seatrout, freshwater pearl mussels and other species

In this broader effort, we’ll focus on the protection of Devon’s most special species of which 45 (such as dormouse, willow tit and Devon whitebeam) are found in the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere.  

Engaging communities on this scale takes lots of time and energy, so we are also asking the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a grant of £6 for every £1 you can contribute. This will ensure at least three years of intensive action, starting this autumn.

Together we can guarantee a brighter future for North Devon’s natural environment so that generations to come can continue to enjoy this wonderful place. But we need your financial support now to ensure this happens. Please donate whatever you can – and tell your friends! Thank you.

Once the Pledge for Nature! project is launched in Autumn 2019, we plan to issue a call for action each quarter with various projects to engage the community in voluntary actions for nature. Examples of actions are: “give 10% of your lawn over to a wildflower meadow”, “trim your farm hedges every 3 years rather than every year”, put up a nestbox for swifts”, “join a community tree-planting team”. Individuals will be able to pledge their action on a map-based web site, where they will also find technical advice and support.

This Crowdfunder, run by the North Devon Biosphere Foundation, is endorsed by the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Partnership. Pledge for Nature! will be implemented through the Biosphere Nature Improvement Group (Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Devon Biodiversity Records Centre, Devon County Council, Devon Hedge Group, Devon Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, Exmoor National Park, Forestry Commission, National Trust, Natural England, North Devon Coast AONB, North Devon District Council, North Devon Biosphere Reserve, RSPB, Westcountry Rivers Trust, Woodland Trust).

The North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve includes the Taw and Torridge river systems and all the land that drains into them from Exmoor to Dartmoor and out to the North Devon Coast as far as Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel. The core area is the spectacular dune system of Braunton Burrows


Culm Grassland -David Chamberlain

Dormouse - Rob Wolton


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£200 or more

0 of 1 claimed

A nature storytelling session for a local school

That’s a great donation! Lisa Schneidau is a storyteller of traditional and modern tales including folk & fairy tales, myths, epics and stories of how it all began - particularly about nature and our relationship with the land. She has a repertoire of stories and activities for schools and family groups of all ages and has kindly offered a half-day session for a Key Stage 2 class early in the autumn term. An ideal present for a school.

£5 or more

A high-five from the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere!

You are a star – thank you so much for supporting North Devon’s nature. Our hedgehogs, butterflies and toads will be forever grateful. The names of all donors of £5 and more will be acknowledged on the project web site once we are up and running”.

£10 or more

Biosphere North Devon Cookbook

Wonderful – thank you! We’ll send you an electronic copy of this local cookbook which was compiled for us by U3A (University of the Third Age). It’s a compilation of scrumptious traditional local recipes. Bon appetit!

£20 or more

4 of 10 claimed

Boat Stories DVD

Thank you – that’s kind! We’ve been donated 10 copies of a DVD of 10 short films about life on boats on the North Devon coast. It’s called “Boat Stories”, and you’ll see what a magical place this is. A great birthday present for someone who loves the area. We’ll need your address to send it.

£20 or more

9 of 50 claimed

Guided walk on Northam Burrows

Thank you – that’s kind! Mike Day (Lead Ranger) will take you on a geology walk on Northam Burrows and Seafield (near Bideford) – just across the estuary from the core area of our Biosphere Reserve. It is home to a diverse range of natural coastal habitats and wildlife. It is famous for its shingle ridge/spit formed by longshore drift with pebbles coming from further around Bideford Bay. A nice birthday present.

£20 or more

9 of 10 claimed

Butterfly Conservation membership

Butterfly Conservation membership (10 available) Perfect – thank you! Butterfly Conservation is a wonderful UK wildlife charity dedicated to saving butterflies, moths and our environment. They’ve kindly donated 10 free memberships to their organisation for one year, for you to snap up. Enjoy!

£30 or more

3 of 12 claimed

Guided wildlife walk around Croyde

Thank you – that’s tremendous! Local wildlife experts, John and Mary Breeds will take you on a wildlife walk, the “Cream of Croyde”, a figure of 8 walk that includes a loop around Baggy & Saunton Down! The walk will be arranged before the end of September for a group of up to ten people (at £30 each). A nice birthday present for someone.

£30 or more

3 of 15 claimed

Woodland management walk near Chulmleigh

Thank you – great donation! Mike Moser, woodland owner and former Chair of the SW Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committee of the Forestry Commission is offering an afternoon guided walk of his diverse woodlands in the Autumn to discuss how to successfully plant new woodlands, how to manage existing woodlands for biodiversity, and opportunities for increasing the economic value of woodlands. Tea and cakes included!

£50 or more

2 of 6 claimed

Guided walk (with cake) around DWT nature reserve

A serious donation – thank you very much! Devon Wildlife Trust (you should all be members of this wonderful local organisation already - and if not, get on and join!) have kindly offered a guided visit to one of their nature reserves in North Devon (to end with some cake!). There are just six places at £50 each. Date and location to be confirmed.

£100 or more

1 of 2 claimed

Talk on global nature conservation

Game-changing donation – thank you! Dr Mike Moser, international conservationist, will come to your school or society in the Biosphere area to share his experiences of nature conservation in countries ranging from Iran to Mongolia. What a great present to give to your children’s or grandchildren’s school!

£500 or more

Sponsor of Pledge for Nature!

An outstanding donation – thank you so much! This is ideally suited to the most generous individual supporters and also to local businesses. We would be happy to arrange a “cheque” hand-over ceremony and press release with your company. We can also link your contribution to one specific call to action once the project starts in the Autumn.

£500 or more

0 of 2 claimed

A unique Jumper hand made from local wool

A fabulous donation! Sally Vergette, a North Devon very wildlife-friendly farmer has kindly offered to make a jumper knitted with hand dyed and spun wool from her own native Devon Closewool sheep to the colours and design of the pledger’s choice. Repairs for the working life of the jumper are included! What a great present!

£50 or more

4 of 4 claimed

A Devon hedge-laying course with Tom “Mr Hedge”

A serious donation – thank you very much! This course, (to be held in the autumn in the Biosphere area) will introduce the importance and techniques of good hedgerow management and will allow you to practice traditional hedge-laying techniques (tools provided). Tom is a leading expert in the field. Great birthday present for your partner!

£50 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Devon hedge-laying course with Tom “Mr Hedge”

'Mr Hedge' has very kindly offered 2 extra places. Thank you, Tom! A serious donation – thank you very much! This course, (to be held in the autumn in the Biosphere area) will introduce the importance and techniques of good hedgerow management and will allow you to practice traditional hedge-laying techniques (tools provided). Tom is a leading expert in the field. Great birthday present for your partner!

£100 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Expert guided walk in the North Devon Coast AONB

Courtesy of Mr Dave Edgecombe, heritage wizard from the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) who will take the donor plus up to four friends on a guided heritage walk. Choose the theme from: Railway Heritage of the AONB - Ilfracombe area; AONBs WWII Heritage Walk – Baggy Point, Northam Burrows or Braunton Burrows; Hillforts (Iron Age Heritage in the AONB) Clovelly Dykes (Not usually open to the public)

£100 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Talk on the North Devon Biosphere

Game-changing donation – thank you! Andy Bell, Manager of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere will come to your school or society in the Biosphere area to tell you all about it! What a great present to give to your children’s or grandchildren’s school!

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