Lottery grant gives new lease of life to North Somerset rewilding project

North Somerset council plan to add long grass and trees as part of their rewilding scheme.

North Somerset council plan to add long grass and trees as part of their rewilding scheme. - Credit: Archant

North Somerset Council has been awarded a lottery grant of £100,000 to continue with the next phase of its rewilding project. 

Working with Avon Wildlife Trust, the funding will enable the council to carry out a range of survey training sessions across the next two years, providing opportunities for volunteers to get involved and help address the climate and nature emergency. 

Volunteers can develop new skills and will be trained to help with the task of monitoring their local environment and recording the biodiversity changes created by rewilding. 

In addition, two paid placement opportunities will be on offer, one each year. The successful candidates will learn survey techniques as well as skills for working with volunteers and delivering projects.

People gathered in the rain to plant trees

269 trees were planted at Hutton Moor on February 19 - Credit: Archant

A further grant will enable a council ranger to carry out volunteer sessions across the next six months. These will involve revisiting all the tree planting sites created so far as a result of the rewilding programme to carry out maintenance and additional survey sessions at the tree and tall grass locations. 

The plan is to develop ‘rewilding champions’ from these two projects to help with the ongoing monitoring and aftercare of these areas. 

Executive member for neighbourhoods and community services, Cllr Mike Solomon, said: "Unfortunately, we had to suspend all volunteering opportunities because of Covid restrictions but we are now looking forward to welcoming volunteers back with us and to working in partnership with Avon Wildlife Trust to take the rewilding project forward.

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"Before the lockdowns, we'd already had fantastic support from our local communities and this project will enable more residents to get involved in helping us deliver our ambitious rewilding programme." 

With the help of volunteers and its contractors Glendale, the council has already planted 20,000 young trees as part of its commitment to rewild areas of North Somerset. 

Cllr Don Davies helped to plant trees at Watchhouse Hill in February 2020.

Cllr Don Davies helped to plant trees at Watchhouse Hill in February 2020. - Credit: Archant

The aim is to plant 50,000 trees, resulting in 25 hectares of new woodland, and create around 40 hectares of tall grass areas where the grass is allowed to grow.

Volunteers who have signed up previously to the rewilding project will receive an email with more information about the tree maintenance sessions. To get involved, email rewilding.volunteering@n-somerset.gov.uk 

To find out more about the rewilding scheme, log-on to www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rewilding

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