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Coversands Heathland

The lowland heathland of the Coversands are found in the northern half of the historic county of Lincolnshire and the eastern edge of Nottinghamshire. Two hundred years ago there was more than 60,000 ha of Coversands, but this has dwindled to around 700 ha.

The Coversands project has been successful in beginning the process of re-creating heathland and acid grassland. Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has extended its Coversands nature reserves at Scotton Common and Kirkby Moor and will be managing them to ensure successful establishment of heathland vegetation.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is working in partnership with Natural England, Forest Enterprise and three local authorities, with substantial funding coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Natural England’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.

Lincolnshire Limewoods

Between Market Rasen in the north and Woodhall Spa in the south, the Lincolnshire Limewoods are the most important woods in Britain for small-leaved lime trees and their very rich ancient woodland plant and animal communities.

The woodlands lie in an intensively farmed landscape and are generally isolated from each other. A partnership involving Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Forestry Commission, Lincolnshire County Council and others is working to improve woodland management, expand existing woodlands and re-establish wildlife corridors between them.

A substantial grant has been given by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Wildlife Trust has received funding from Natural England / Defra Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Action Fund. The Wildlife Trust has already doubled the size of its Goslings Corner limewood nature reserve, planting native trees and creating pasture.

Lincolnshire Wolds

The Lincolnshire Wolds lie in the north-east of the county, stretching from around Spilsby in the south to the Humber Estuary. The area contains all the county’s chalk grassland and chalk streams, set in a predominantly arable landscape.

The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has carried out baseline ecological studies within the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to identify the most important places for wildlife. Grant schemes, advice and practical management can now be targeted towards their conservation, enhancement and linkage. A project officer has been appointed to provide advice and assistance to enhance chalk steam habitats.  The Trust’s most significant nature reserve within the Wolds is Red Hill where 23 ha of arable land is being returned to chalk grassland adjacent to the core reserve area, a SSSI. 

Most of the Natural Area is designated as an AONB, with management steered by a Joint Advisory Committee on which the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is represented. The Trust is also a partner, together with the Environment Agency, Anglian Water, Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service, Natural England and the Wild Trout Trust, in the ‘Water for Wildlife Lincolnshire Chalk Streams Project’.

Lincolnshire Coastal Grazing Marsh

The Outmarsh of the Lincolnshire Coastal Grazing Marshes stretches from Skegness to Cleethorpes. Its landscape was once characterised by long, narrow grass fields separated by a network of water-filled ditches. Over the last 50 years, more and more of this pasture has been cultivated and now grows arable crops. 25% of remaining grassland was ploughed between 1990 and 2000. The water table has been lowered and few areas now provide ideal conditions for birds such as snipe and lapwing to breed, standing water in winter to attract flocks of coastal wading birds, or permanently wet ditches supporting water voles, eels, damselflies and dragonflies.

This project’s vision for the future is:

‘The Lincolnshire Coastal Grazing Marsh will once again have extensive grassland landscapes rich in wildlife, intersected by a distinctive pattern of water courses.  Within this landscape, pastoral farming thrives and local communities have a high quality of life. The area is attractive to local people and visitors, with year-round opportunities to experience the natural and historic environment through improved access, helping to develop and sustain a vibrant rural economy.’

The project currently involves Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, East Lindsey District Council, English Heritage, Environment Agency, FWAG, Lincolnshire County Council, Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board and Natural England. Together we are working to find means of increasing the incentives for pastoral farming and seven areas have been selected as priorities for action.

With grant aid from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the Wildlife Trust is employing a Project Officer to provide advice and assistance to farmers.  The Trust has also secured a project planning grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a Landscape Partnerships Scheme to provide additional support for the marshes.

On its own land, the Wildlife Trust is taking the lead in restoring grazing marsh inland from its reserves at Gibraltar Point (30 ha grazing marsh re-created from arable land) and Saltfleetby (40 ha farmland now buffering the dunes). It is also seeking to acquire land to re-establish grazing marsh to buffer the five Sea Bank Clay Pits and to work in partnership to develop a coastal country park and Local Nature Reserve between Chapel Point and Sandilands.

Lincolnshire and Rutland Limestone Natural Area Project

This Natural Area stretches north from Peterborough to Lincoln and is characterised geologically by a band of oolitic limestone, which supports a particular type of grassland flora. Once nationally renowned for its flower-rich grasslands, the remnants are now few and far between.

Through targeting of grants, the Lincolnshire and the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trusts and Natural England believe extensive grasslands can be re-created.  The re-establishment of grassland at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s Robert’s Field Nature Reserve shows what can be achieved. Grants from Natural England and Lincolnshire Aggregates Levy Sustainability Funds have helped establish priorities.

We are now seeking funds to employ a project officer to work with farmers, mineral companies and other landowners. As much of the remaining grassland is found on roadside verges, we are arranging a workshop to discuss how best to manage the most important verges.

Baston and Thurlby Fens

The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves at Baston and Thurlby Fens are the most important remaining areas of wet fenland in Lincolnshire and the last strongholds for many rare and endangered plants and animals. Less than 1% of eastern England’s ‘wild fen’ wetlands remain. Our vision is to re-create up to 800 ha of wetland and other wildlife habitat in an area surrounding the reserves.

As owner of the core area, the Wildlife Trust is leading a partnership including Environment Agency, FWAG, Lincolnshire County Council, Natural England, South Kesteven District Council and Welland and Deepings Internal Drainage Board. The new Environmental Stewardship grants will be critical to the success of the scheme, providing incentives for landowners to opt into the project. Additional opportunities are being pursued to develop wetland habitat through restoration of nearby gravel pits.

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