CJS Logo & link to homepage

Countryside Jobs Service Professional - The leading monthly for countryside staff across the UK

Published on the second Thursday every month

CJS is endorsed by the Scottish Countryside Rangers Association and the Countryside Management Association

Scottish Countryside Rangers Association

Countryside Management Association

logo: Canal and River Trust 

Featured Charity:  Canal & River Trust

Find out more about our featured charity here.

Including how to join and donate.



Please remember: If you are interested in a particular advert or item please contact the advertiser, not CJS, and remember to tell them you saw their advert in CJS Professional.


Click the headers to browse each section, or click on each item (or the [more] button)





Location (basis / contract details)

Assistant Data Manager


Bedfordshire (full time, 6 months)

Data Manager


Sandy, Bedfordshire (full time, permanent)

Land-based Alternative Provision Manager

Lorica / East Clayton Farm

Pulborough, West Sussex (3 years with potential to make permanent)

John Muir Award Officer (England)

John Muir Trust

North of England, Midlands, or North Wales border. Home working may be considered.(full time, 35hpw. Fixed term until 31st July 2020)

Reserves Officer - West Cambridgeshire 

The Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs & N’hants

based in the heart of the Great Fen Living Landscape area, near Holme, Cambs (full time)

Conservation Officer - West Country Buzz (maternity cover)

Bumblebee Conservation Trust

North Devon (35hpw)

Conservation Officer 


Tyne and Wear (Full time  Permanent)

Conservation Officer


Norfolk and Lincolnshire (Full time  Permanent)

Senior Conservation Planner


Cardiff or Bangor (Full time  Permanent)

Somerset Environmental Records Centre Manager (SERC)

Somerset Wildlife Trust

Taunton (37.5 hours per week)

Consultant Ecologist

via East Midlands

West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire (37 hours per week)

Senior Ecologist 


head office in rural Hampshire. 

Conservation Officer - Cambridgeshire


Cambridgeshire (Full time  Permanent)

Conservation Advisor


Forest of Bowland Priority Landscape, Lancashire (Full time  Permanent)

Conservation Officer - Bowland


Forest of Bowland Priority Landscape, Lancashire (Full time  Permanent)

Countryside Ranger

Elmbridge Borough Council


Senior Conservation Officer


Cambridgeshire  (Full time  Permanent)

Conservation Officer


Dumfries & Galloway (Full time  Permanent)

Trusts and Grants Officer

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

Elm Tree Court, Long Street, Devizes, SN10 1NJ  (37.5 hpw)

West Suffolk Woodlands Assistant Warden

Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Bradfield Woods, Felsham, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP30 0AQ  (Fixed term 1 year, full time)

Senior Project Officer 

South East Rivers Trust

Office based in Carshalton (SM5) with travel across the South East (Full time, permanent - 40 hours per week)  

Project Officer

South East Rivers Trust

Office based in Carshalton (SM5) with travel across the South East (Three year contract. Full time -40 hours per week)



Pitsea, Essex (Full time  Permanent)

Assistant Warden 


 Essex (Full time  Permanent)

Senior Ecologist and Ecologist

Ecosupport Ltd

Fareham, Hampshire

Natural Flood Management Project Officer

River Thame Conservation Trust (in partnership)

Flexible Working including: Headington, Oxford / Buckingham / Cranfield / Home (3 year project, 3.5 days per week)

Growing Team Assistant 

Cheviot Trees Ltd 

Berwick upon Tweed

Senior Project Officer


based in Colchester (35 hours per week working alternate Sundays)

Senior Tutor

FSC Margam Discovery Centre

Port Talbot (Permanent)

Policy Adviser Wildlife & Conservation

Scottish Land & Estates

based in Musselburgh



131 new adverts posted online this past month. We can also include details of conservation tasks, volunteer taster days or recruitment days, for a free listing simply email up to 50 words to ranger@countryside-jobs.com.


Surveys and Fieldwork

Five citizen science projects added to the listings during September


Features and In Depth Articles

From the blog: What's the paw count on your site? Do the canine visitors (or their owners) cause you problems? Or could they bring you an increase in visitor numbers? [read it here]

The changing habitats of hedgehogs. How the human landscape has influenced hedgehog habitats in the UK by Grace Johnson, Hedgehog Officer at Hedgehog Street (PTES) [more]

How many small developers actually think about their wildlife impact?

Many householders and smaller developers may be unaware that local planning authorities (LPAs) have a statutory requirement to consider the ecological impact of development proposals, and to promote biodiversity improvements.  Writen by Dr. Rosalie Callway of Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning [more]

Canada, Russia, Scandinavia and Svalbard.  Most of us will never make it to any of these places in our lifetime.  For hundreds of thousands of migratory birds, these far-flung places are their summer breeding grounds. WWT article written for World Migratory Bird Day. [more]

Connecting people and place. When People and the DALES (Diversity, Access, Learning, Environment, Sustainability), Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s outreach project, won the Government’s Year of Green Action Award, it was a celebration of not only ten years hard work but the number of lives the scheme has touched. [more]

Keep It, Bin It: the national anti-littering campaign aiming to make dropping litter culturally unacceptable - No More Rubbish Excuses!  Defra's anti litter campaign. Millions of pieces of litter are dropped every day in England.  Anyone working in the environment sector will know that littering is not only unsightly, but has a devastating impact on our native wildlife. [more]

How three words can communicate any rural location.  what3words is a new global addressing system that has given every 3m square in the world a unique 3 word address. Now, people can refer to any precise location using just three words from the dictionary. [more]


CJS Focus

CJS Focus on Countryside Management in association with the Countryside Management Assocaiation.

28 pages in total with information about the countryside management sector, organisations and charities, training courses and events. 11 articles and viewpoint pieces:

  • In the lead article from the National Trust’s Ted Talbot on behalf of CMA we are given Ted’s reflections on the countryside profession in 2019.
  • Conservation Grazing is a useful management tool, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust explain how animals can be used in land management and the difference between the various species used.
  • The Green Halo Partnership was set up by New Forest National Park Authority in 2016. Working with other organisations and businesses the partnership wants to facilitate local practical action to protect and enhance natural capital.
  • Rewilding Britain describes the concept of rewilding - the large scale restoration of ecosystems to the point where nature is allowed to take care of itself.
  • A day in the life of a Countryside Ranger at Cheshire East Council runs through what Carolyn Sherratt gets up to on a typical early autumn day.
  • Country Land and Business Association (CLA) talks about the changing nature of fly-tipping and how this anti-social behaviour is now affecting nearly two thirds of landowners every year.
  • Seán O’Hea from Cornwall Wildlife Trust discusses designated sites and gives the pros and cons of designation from a Site Managers perspective.
  • SRUC teach traditional countryside management techniques; Chris Smillie, Programme Leader for the MSc Countryside Management runs us through some of the methods used.
  • George Potts from Scottish Countryside Rangers Association (SCRA) tries to answer the question: Is there a perfect Countryside Ranger applicant?
  • In a bid to find out the difference in opinion between employers and applicants on how the recruitment process should be managed, CJS has created an article using the opinions of 4 applicants. This is then followed up by:
  • Warwickshire County Council Country Parks section and a recruiter from a County Council’s Countryside Service on their experience of recruiting.
  • Finally Matthew North from National Trust talks about getting in to the sector and becoming a Countryside Ranger providing valuable information about what, as a recruiter he is looking for and would like to see in an applicant.

Read it here or download a PDF version


CJS Information and other articles

CJS 25th Birthday wishes this month from: Dan Barnett, Access and Recreation Manager at Exmoor National Park Authority and

Linda Nunn, Director of Cranborne Chase AONB [more]

CJS Birthday gifts: For October we have two lovely environmentally friendly gifts for you: a set of winter themed seedballs and from Big Wild Thought two badger prints and a red fox accessories case. [more]

CJS Photography competition: September is a lovely photo of ducklings on Lancaster Canal taken by John Jones.  This month's suggested theme is British Wildlife and a Robhin Nest Box from Wildlife & Countyside Services will be awarded to the best photo submitted during October.

Staged photographs and the CJS Photography Competition - an important change to the rules, please read. 

Following the furore around the winning image in the BBC Countryfile calendar photography competition the CJS Team has discussed the implications for our competition and as a result we have updated the rules with regard to staged images. More detail including our reasons here.



Lead story this month has to be the Glover Report:  Independent review calls for radical plan for England’s National Parks - defra Plus responses


Government Announcements and Policy

  • New measures protect animal welfare and increase woodland cover - Defra


Land and Countryside Management

  • Natural killer of Himalayan Balsam offers hope for tackling troublesome invader - Broads Authority
  • New research shows that at least £3 billion is needed for nature-friendly farming - The Wildlife Trusts
  • Cut less, cut later – Plantlife releases transformative new national road verge guidelines to increase flowers and pollinators
  • Transport Secretary acts on HS2 ancient woodland clearances during Oakervee review - Department for Transport Plus statement from HS2 Ltd with Woodland Trust responses


Funding and new partnerships

  • The Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project secures National Lottery support


Pollution, sustainablity and climate

  • NFU unveils its plan for British farming to deliver net zero – National Farmers Union
  • Choices made now are critical for the future of our ocean and cryosphere - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Two-thirds of people support limiting air travel to tackle climate change – Cardiff University


Recreation Environmental Education, Community and Health

  • Woodland sounds boost wellbeing, according to new study - The National Trust 
  • People Living Near Green Spaces Are at Lower Risk of Metabolic Syndrome – Barcelona Institute of Global Health
  • Unlocking history and heritage for millions of people affected by dementia – National Trust

Scientific Research, Results and Publications

  • Centre for Ecology & Hydrology will become independent on 1 December 2019 - CEH
  • University of Saskatchewan led study shows insecticides threaten survival of wild birds - University of Saskatchewan
  • 10 scientific publications.


Animal and wildlife news

  • Good news for many UK species including roseate terns, hen harriers in England, pool frogs, painted lady butterflies and bitterns but the future of cornncrakes in Scotland is increasingly uncertain.
  • Defra responds to Wild Justice challenge: releasing gamebirds on protected sites - Defra and new phase of general licence review.
  • 4,896 marine mammals stranded on UK coast in seven years - ZSL



Join the Outdoor Recreation Network for their upcoming ‘Outdoor Recreation 2030: Future Trends and Insights’ Conference on 22nd & 23rd October 2019. [details]

NBN Conference 2019: This year’s NBN Conference is taking place on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 November at the Albert Hall, Nottingham. The theme is “Network, Knowledge and Narrative – sharing and using data across the NBN and beyond”. [details]


Calendar of events and short courses occuring in December 5 pages

Plus additions to long courses and providers made over the past month.

Time to send your training calendar for next year, submit online here or email us for more information: training@countryside-jobs.com


Grants and sources of funding

Details 6 new and updated listings.


CJS Newsletters and updates:

CJS Weekly: subscription only weekly newsletter. Receive details of all vacancies and information advertised with CJS. Find out more here. Instant access here.

Daily email with details of latest vacancies, news and general information. Sign up free here.


CJS Professional: 10 October 2019

Jobs: view all online jobs here


Logo: RSPBAssistant Data Manager
Reference: A1910919
Location: Bedfordshire
Salary: £17,276 to £18,716 pa
Hours: Full time
Contract: 6 months 

We are looking for a full-time Assistant Data Manager to join the Data Management Services section of CDMU for 6 months, based at our Headquarters in Bedfordshire.
The Data Management Services team provide a wide range of services to many different parts of the RSPB - our day-to-day tasks range from working with reserves staff to ensure that monitoring data they're collecting in the field are correctly entered into our database, advising project staff on the best ways to collect and manage priority species data, running remote training courses on how to use our in-house species database and GIS system (Merlin), developing and delivering interactive webinars on species data management, liaising with other conservation organisations to facilitate data flows and working with RSPB ecologists to improve our in-house species recording processes.
You will have excellent computing skills with experience of using Excel to manipulate data, a keen eye for detail and an understanding of GIS and data management. You will need to be a good communicator, who is confident liaising with colleagues and supporting our GIS users on the phone, over email and in person. 

This is a good opportunity to learn how to use new software and tools related to data and information management, so an aptitude and enthusiasm for learning new skills will be essential and an interest in ecology or natural history is highly desirable.
This is a great opportunity to join a friendly and dynamic team, where you'll have the chance to develop your data management skills and help to ensure that RSPB have the very best data management and dissemination practices in place, to enable well-informed decision-making for conservation. 

Closing: 14 October 2019
Interview: 30 October 2019 

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website.

Logo: RSPBData Manager
Reference: A1900919
Location: Sandy, Bedfordshire
Salary: £22,073 to £23,912 per annum
Hours: Full time
Contract: Permanent 

The Conservation Data Management Unit (CDMU) are a highly skilled and innovative team, who oversee all aspects of mapping and data management at RSPB. This includes managing and supporting Merlin (our in-house conservation database, mapping and reporting system) as well as various commercial GIS software packages, tools and apps.  

We work with staff and volunteers across the organisation to disseminate best practice in data collection, management and archiving and provide training and support in GIS and data management. We also provide various consultancy services to the RSPB and its partners. 

Daily tasks may include

   ●   working with reserves staff, ensuring monitoring data collected in the field is correctly entered into our database,    ●   advising project staff how best to collect and manage priority species data,   ●   running remote training courses on how to use our in-house system (Merlin),    ●   developing and delivering interactive webinars on species data management,    ●   liaising with other conservation organisations to facilitate data flows,   ●   working with RSPB ecologists to improve our in-house species recording processes.

Key Skills

   ●   excellent computing skills with advanced knowledge of Excel,    ●   a keen eye for detail and experience of working with species datasets and using GIS software,   ●   good communication - can clearly explain GIS and data concepts and provide training and support for staff and volunteers in managing species data and producing maps,   ●   aptitude and enthusiasm for learning new things will be essential.

Desirable Skills

   ●   An interest in ecology or natural history    ●   experience of collecting and using conservation data    ●   knowledge of the NBN, national recording schemes and data flows. 

Closing: 14 October 2019
Interview: 28 October 2019 

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website.

Logo: East Clayton FarmLand-based Alternative Provision Manager

The right candidate will have experience of working with young people (10 - 18 year olds), delivering land-based training, building employability skills and networking with a background in conservation, agriculture and/or horticulture.

They will be able to generate confidence, have sound judgement, and be self-motivated with strong communication skills.

Experience of working as a qualified landbased assessor would be advantageous.

The postholder will be based at East Clayton Farm, Storrington Rd, Pulborough, West Sussex 

This is an exciting opportunity to join a successful and innovative organisation and to develop your own skills and knowledge.

For an informal chat please call Jean Rolfe on 01903 741011.

For a Recruitment Pack please email jean.rolfe@lorica.org.uk

For more information about our work please visit our website

Salary: £16k - £20k (dependent on experience)

Contract: 3 years with potential to make permanent

Closing Date: 24th October 2019

Logo: John Muir TrustJohn Muir Award Officer (England)

Salary:              £20,000 - £22,000 p.a. pro rata

Hours:              Full time - 35 hrs per week

Term:                Fixed term until 31st July 2020

Pension:           5% employer contribution to a group auto-enrolment pension scheme

Location:          North of England, Midlands, or North Wales border. Home working may be considered. 

The John Muir Award, the main engagement initiative of the John Muir Trust, is a leading environmental award scheme focused on wild places. We are recruiting a John Muir Officer as part of an existing staff team to support and develop the John Muir Award throughout England. This will be a fixed term full-time post until 31st July 2020. 

The post-holder will have experience of supporting others to deliver their outcomes, working in partnership and of the social inclusion-related agenda in England. The John Muir Award aims to ensure that social circumstances aren’t a barrier to opportunities to experience wild places. You will provide solutions based approach and outstanding customer service. 

Applicants must be able to evidence their experience in a role that has direct relevance to this post. It is essential to demonstrate understanding of the role the John Muir Award can play in supporting social inclusion audiences in England, and have experience of working effectively with internal and external stakeholders. Experience of working with volunteers and young people would be desirable.  

A flexible approach, strong organisational and interpersonal skills, self-motivation and an ability to work without supervision are essential for the post. 

Closing date:     Midnight on 29th October 2019

Interviews:         Week commencing 11th November  

For full details and to apply, go to:  www.johnmuirtrust.org/about/jobs  

Reserves Officer, West Cambridgeshire 

The Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs & N’hants is seeking to recruit a full-time Reserves Officer, working within the West Cambs team. The position will be based in the heart of the Great Fen Living Landscape area, near Holme, Cambs. 

The post holder will be responsible for the maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity within WTBCN’s suite of nature reserves within North West Cambs. The role will require the planning and completion of practical site management work in all seasons, leading practical engagement activities for volunteer groups, survey and monitoring and working with other WT teams to deliver better outcomes for wildlife. 

We are looking for an enthusiastic and practical individual with good habitat management experience, preferably experienced in working with contractors and someone who can happily engage volunteers in all weathers. They need to be practical, passionate and knowledgeable about wildlife, and have a real desire to manage our valuable wetland, woodland and grassland habitats to help wildlife flourish.    

Salary:  £20,110 per annum – 25 days leave plus all bank holidays, 5% pension contribution. 

This post is a full time permanent position. 

Full details and an application pack can be found on our website

For further information or for an informal chat about the role, please contact Aidan Matthews on 01223 713500. 

Closing date for applications is 12pm on Friday 25th October 2019 

We WILL NOT accept CVs – even if accompanied by an application form. 

Interviews will be held on Monday 11th of November 2019.  Applicants are encouraged to keep this date free in their calendars.

Logo: Bumblebee Conservation TrustConservation Officer - West Country Buzz (maternity cover)

Salary: £23,000 per annum 

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) is looking for a Conservation Officer (35 hours per week). Your primary role will be to deliver the West Country Buzz project in North Devon. You will carry out advisory visits to farmers and other land managers to support bumblebees and other pollinators. You will collaborate with stakeholders to create, restore and maintain joined up habitat across the project area. Via walks, talks and workshops, you will raise awareness of bumblebee declines, their identification and monitoring, and how to manage land sensitively for them. 

The Trust is looking to appoint an enthusiastic individual with conservation experience to take on this exciting role. 

You will have experience of working with farmers and other land managers, and knowledge or experience of habitat conservation and management. You will have good knowledge of pollinators and their habitats, excellent communication skills, and be able to build effective relationships. 

Please refer to the job description and person specification on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website for more details of the role and instructions on how to apply.  

To discuss the post informally, please contact: Cathy Horsley, Senior Project Officer, Tel. 07951 154530, cathy.horsley@bumblebeeconservation.org  

Closing Date: 3rd November 2019 (midnight)

Interview date: 28th November 2019 (Exeter)

Start date: 6th January 2020 

Logo: RSPBConservation Officer 

Are you passionate about nature and experienced in conservation delivery in the uplands? We are looking for a determined and enthusiastic team-player to join our Northeast and Cumbria Area Team, to deliver a range of work for priority species and habitats, with a key focus on the North Pennines and Yorkshire Dales. In this varied role you will be a strong advocate for nature, building positive and innovative partnerships, providing advice directly to land managers, responding to developments which threaten protected sites or species, and delivering conservation projects to help nature thrive. 

Conservation Officer
Reference: 7DaZd-4
Tyne and Wear

£25,463 to £27,585
Full time  Permanent 

You will be dynamic, self-motivated, and an excellent communicator, with proven ability to work across teams and with a wide range of partners and individuals of varying interests, to bring people together, negotiate, influence, and build consensus. A background in landscape scale conservation, land management advice, and nature conservation delivery mechanisms is desirable, and an in-depth knowledge of upland ecology (including priority habitats and species such as breeding waders, black grouse, birds of prey), land uses, and conservation challenges is essential. 

This role will report to the Senior Conservation Officer and may include recruitment and line-management of volunteers. Though focused on the North Pennines and Dales, it will also support work across the Northeast and Cumbria as required. 

Closing date: 31 October 2019
Interview date: 19 November 2019 

This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. You will be asked to declare unspent convictions and cautions at offer of employment stage. 

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website. 

Logo: RSPBCan you make a difference for wildlife around The Wash and North Norfolk Coast? Are you enthusiastic about, and committed to, biodiversity conservation? Do you have excellent communication skills, experience of working with and developing strong partnerships, and have the drive to make things happen? 

Conservation Officer
Reference: 7DaZd-11
Location: Norfolk and Lincolnshire
Salary starting at: £25,463 to £27,585 per annum
Hours: Full time
Contract: Permanent 

Working closely with the Senior Conservation Officer and the Area Team to deliver a range of work to conserve and enhance the amazing habitats and species of The Wash and North Norfolk Coast.  

Duties include

   ●   working to protect breeding waders and beach nesting birds,   ●   developing projects to create new habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife,   ●   championing policies that would protect nature and help species adapt to a changing climate   ●   working effectively with partners 

We are seeking someone

   ●   with a passion for nature and a clear commitment to protecting the area's most important wildlife and habitats.   ●   highly-motivated with energy, enthusiasm and initiative to build, shape and coordinate our work with partners, land managers and other stakeholders    ●   who can build strong partnerships, who can communicate effectively and knowledgably to a range of people and organisations   ●   who is able to persuade and inspire; demonstrating a passion for finding solutions and identifying win-wins for nature and people.

Desirable experience

   ●   Casework (dealing with planning, policy or site safeguard work)   ●   supporting and/or delivering work at a landscape-scale.   ●   However, your ability to build positive relationships and quickly learn and apply new knowledge will be most important

If this sounds like the job for you then we'd love to hear from you. 

Closing: 27 October 2019
Interview: 8 November 2019 

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here https://c-js.co.uk/2nHKU7N to be directed to our website.

Logo: RSPBSenior Conservation Planner
Reference: A2080919
Location: Cardiff or Bangor
Salary starting at: £29,507 to £34,425 per annum
Hours: Full time
Contract: Permanent 

The Senior Conservation Planner will lead our engagement with development planning, environmental management frameworks and casework in Wales, seeking to ensure they are fit for the purpose of tackling the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.  

You will work across teams to influence (inter alia)

   ●   Wales' planning policy, the National Development Framework,    ●   the Wales National Marine Plan    ●   Area Statements under the Environment (Wales) Act. 

You will line manage our Casework Officer and have oversight of RSPB Cymru's planning casework ensuring our engagement with developers and regulators aligns with national casework priorities and reflects Wales' unique policy context. 

The ideal candidate will

   ●   have a degree or equivalent in a development planning- or environmental management-related subject.    ●   hold, or be working towards, chartered membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute (MRTPI), or have equivalent professional experience.   ●   have an understanding of planning and environmental management law, policy and practice including environmental assessment processes, and the opportunities and risks they present for wildlife.   ●   be able to quickly analyse complex issues   ●   be a great communicator   ●   have excellent negotiating and influencing skills   ●   be able to manage your time and prioritise effectively, manage projects and take the lead in developing policy positions   ●   have experience of working in planning or environmental management,    ●   experience of line managing staff   ●   understand how to influence policy and plans.

Desirable skills

   ●   Knowledge of Wales' distinct legal and policy framework    ●   experience of campaigns is desirable. 

Closing: 15 November 2019
We are actively recruiting and may draw the role to close before the closing date, when suitable applications are received. 

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website. 

Logo: Somerset Wildlife TrustSomerset Environmental Records Centre Manager (SERC)
Salary: £27,317 - 33,619 plus employer pension contribution of 7%
37.5 hours per week
Based in Taunton 

Do you have experience of collating data and providing evidence to enable decision-making that achieves positive biodiversity outcomes? Do you have experience of achieving successful outcomes for biodiversity, working within local and national planning and policy frameworks, the application of Net Gain and biodiversity offsetting? If so, we'd love to hear from you!  

This post brings together ecological monitoring, data and landscape-scale conservation science to define the direction of the Trust’s conservation work, aiming to restore nature at a landscape scale. A member of the Senior Leadership Team, the postholder will oversee the development of programmes that create a coherent and resilient ecological network across Somerset and provide the technical ecological lead across the Trust including the achievement of positive biodiversity outcomes through the planning process. 

About Somerset Environmental Records Centre (SERC)    

  • For over 20 years SERC has been the focal organisation for holding data on wildlife sightings, types of environments and geological information for Somerset. Set up in 1986 as a joint venture between Somerset Wildlife Trust and Somerset County Council, the Records Centre is a partnership organisation based within the Trust.
  • SERC is a member of the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres and has close links to the National Biodiversity Network, and the National Federation of Biological Recorders. SERC is hosted by Somerset Wildlife Trust who, together with our partner organisations, guide the development of the Records Centre through an Executive Group.  

Deadline for applications: Thursday 17 October, 5pm – previous applicants need not apply.
Interviews: Monday 28 October.   

For more information and to apply click here  

Logo: Via East Midlands LtdConsultant Ecologist  

Location: West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire  

Hours: 37 hours per week  

Closing date: Friday 18th October 2019 

We are a major employer in Nottinghamshire with a multi-skilled local workforce and a range of highly trained staff based at a number of different locations throughout the county. 

Our roles include highway maintenance, electrical works, mechanics, construction, forestry, road safety, traffic signals, civil engineering and much more. We combine a public-sector service ethos with a strong commercial focus and we are passionate about innovation, creating and delivering sustainable solutions safely across Nottinghamshire and the wider East Midlands. 

Via Consultancy has a core team of environmental specialists which it is seeking to grow in response to internal and external demand for these services. These will help support the delivery of our existing programme and develop further our ambition to strengthen our offer as a stand-alone environmental service. 

As our new Consultant Ecologist you will join our established team of environmental specialists.  Project work will be varied in scope and scale ranging from highways infrastructure projects such as the construction of the new Gedling Access Road to flood alleviation and development projects. The role will include the provision of ecological survey and reporting, design and delivery of ecological mitigation, provision of ecological advice. You will also have the chance to help shape the growth of ecological service within the organisation.   

This varied role offers the opportunity to grow and develop, with learning opportunities both within and outside the organisation. We offer attractive benefits including flexible working, generous holiday allowance and pension scheme. 

Key tasks for the role are:  

   ●   Undertaking environmental surveys and producing high quality reports including habitat and species surveys        ●   Undertaking ecological mitigation design and delivery (including Ecological Clerk of Works role)       ●   Liaising with ecological regulators and planning authorities   ●   Client liaison   ●   Delivering technical work on complex projects

Job requirements:  

   ●   Degree in a relevant subject   ●   Full CIEEM Membership or be eligible    ●   Accomplished and broad background in ecological survey and assessment   ●   Minimum of 3 years post qualification experience in an ecologically focused role   ●   Hold a level 1 Natural England Bat Licence   ●   Proven experience of working as Ecological Clerk or Works    ●   Proven experience of undertaking Preliminary Ecological Appraisals and producing high quality Ecological Impact Assessments and other technical reports   ●   Knowledge and experience of working in an advisory capacity on largescale construction projects   ●   Strong knowledge of relevant UK and European legislation, policy and guidance   ●   Good understanding of Habitats Regulations Assessment   ●   Experience of project co-ordination, budget management and Health and Safety risk management   ●   A full driving licence

Additional useful requirements: 

   ●   CSCS card holder   ●   Hold a minimum level 2 Natural England Bat Licence    ●   Hold a Natural England protected species licence in addition to bats  

If you think this role is for you, we would love to hear from you! Please send your CV and covering letter to via.hr@viaem.co.uk or visit our website www.viaem.co.uk  

If you would like to have informal discussion about this position, please contact Cathy Gillespie on 0115 9772064 

Logo: ECOSASenior Ecologist 

Are you seeking new challenges? ECOSA are pleased to be seeking a full time Senior Ecologist to join our friendly team at our attractive head office in rural Hampshire. 

If you are passionate about promoting best practice in ecology and committed to making a positive impact on the environment, we want to hear from you! 

At ECOSA, we want all our employees to feel valued and supported in their careers. We offer a mentoring scheme to promote your development and progression with reference to the CIEEM Competency Framework and a generous structured training budget. 

We appreciate the late hours our ecologists put in during the survey season and therefore we offer flexible working hours and paid overtime/TOIL during the summer in recognition of our staffs' efforts. 

About you

 As a key member of our consultancy team, your enthusiasm for ecology and flexible approach will equip you well in supporting our expanding business. 

You will have five years or more relevant experience gained in ecological consultancy, local authority or a planning environment. 

You will work on a diverse range of projects, from private home renovations, through to large-scale residential / commercial / infrastructure developments. 

With the support of our consultants, you will use your expertise to provide sound advice to our clients and deliver pragmatic and cost-effective survey and mitigation solutions, whilst investing your knowledge and skills in our junior staff. 

Applicants must hold full CIEEM membership (or be eligible), a degree in a relevant subject and a minimum of a Level 2 Natural England bat licence (CL18). 

ECOSA is an equal opportunities employer. For more information about this role and how to apply, please visit the ecology jobs page on our website.  

This position is open until filled. No agencies please.

Logo: RSPBConservation Officer - Cambridgeshire

Reference number: 7DaZd-10
Location: Cambridgeshire
Salary starting at: £25,463 to £27,585 per annum
Hours: Full time
Contract: Permanent 

The Conservation Officer role will be responsible for delivering priority species work and land management advice within the RSPB's Fens priority landscape. This will involve liaising with landowners and farmers within the fens to support their delivery of conservation outcomes for priority species and habitats. You will therefore need a good understanding of farming systems and how these can deliver benefits for biodiversity. 

Strong communication skills and an ability to build relationships with external stakeholders will be required. You will also need a good understanding of the ecology and needs of priority species and habitats within the area. This role will also be expected to contribute to other project work in the wider area focussing on priority species and habitats, which may include site safeguard casework, species recovery, and conservation projects, meaning that flexible attitude and approach will be essential. For the right candidate this role will offer a range of opportunities to deliver for nature across the conservation toolkit and the opportunity to develop their skills. 

Closing date: 1 November 2019
Interview date: 15 November 2019, 18 November 2019 

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website.

Logo: RSPBWe are seeking a Conservation Advisor to work within our Forest of Bowland Priority Landscape They will be responsible for helping to deliver the work of RSPB's conservation team within the North West operational area, to ensure delivery of the relevant outcomes of RSPB's Saving Nature Strategy. 

Conservation Advisor
Ref: qaUox-1

£25,463 to £27,585
Full time

The post-holder will be responsible for fostering close links with, and provision of farm conservation advice to farmers and landowners / managers and will help to deliver an advisory work programme focused on our Forest of Bowland Priority Landscapes, species and habitats. They will play an important role in delivering the work of RSPB's conservation team, contributing to the delivery of the AONB Management Plan and the work RSPB's other partners within the operational area. 

Conservation Advisors have a key role in delivering projects, in association with RSPB colleagues. This includes projects and RSPB's delivery in wider partnership projects, particularly within priority landscapes. They have an important external role, building positive relationships with farmers, land owners / managers and in building positive relationships with key partners and stakeholders so that our collective policies and messages are understood and furthered within and outwith the Forest of Bowland. 

The post holder will manage the ongoing Bowland Wader Survey on 30 farms in addition to monitoring and reporting on the work plan and to develop further work plans and/or project ideas. They will be expected to contribute operational experience to RSPB's policy and advocacy work and contribute to the delivery of RSPB funding and communications objectives, particularly through communicating our conservation messages. 

Closing date: 17 October 2019

Interview date: 5 November 2019 

if you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website. 

Logo: RSPBConservation Officer - Bowland
Reference: 7daZd-2
Location: Lancashire
Salary: £25,463 to £27,585 per annum
Hours: Full time
Contract: Permanent 

We are seeking a Conservation Officer to work within our Forest of Bowland Priority Landscape They will be responsible for helping to deliver the work of RSPB's conservation team within the North West operational area, to ensure delivery of the relevant outcomes of RSPB's Saving Nature Strategy. 

Conservation Officers have a key role in managing and delivering projects, in association with RSPB colleagues. This includes those led by RSPB and RSPB's delivery in wider partnerships, particularly within priority landscapes. The role has an important external element, building positive relationships with key partners and stakeholders so that our collective policies and messages are understood and furthered within and outwith the Forest of Bowland.
The role will help to deliver a work programme focused on the priority landscape, the AONB Management Plan, species and habitats. This will be achieved by deploying the appropriate conservation tools to ensure we achieve our conservation objectives. This may include site safeguard casework which may include compiling data and evidence reports on birds of prey, species recovery, land management advice, conservation projects and engagement in land use policy.
The post-holder will help to monitor and report on the work plan and to develop further work plans and/or project ideas. They will also be expected to contribute operational experience to RSPB's policy and advocacy work and contribute to the delivery of RSPB funding and communications objectives, particularly through communicating our conservation message.
Closing date: 17 October 2019
Interview date: 19 November 2019 

This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. You will be asked to declare unspent convictions and cautions at offer of employment stage.
No agencies please. 

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website.

Logo: Elmbridge Borough CouncilCountryside Ranger

Salary:  £ 20,266 – 24,277 pa  

Ref:  CS222 

Elmbridge Leisure and Cultural Services is a dynamic, customer focused, service orientated and fast moving Division dedicated to providing high quality services which meet the needs of the community and contribute to a better quality of life. 

Working within the Countryside Team you will join a team of dedicated Rangers carrying out practical habitat management and estate work, covering Local Nature Reserves, a SSSI and Open Spaces managed for the benefit of wildlife and recreation in the Borough. 

An enthusiastic individual is sought for an immediate start. Must demonstrate experience in nature conservation and possess a current driving licence. The post entails some evening and weekend duties. Elmbridge Borough Council has an excellent employee benefits programme providing opportunities for flexible working, including term time and home working, good holiday arrangements, 24-hour employee support help-line and health/lifestyle checks. 

If you would like to discuss this position informally and confidentially, please call Dave Page, Countryside Estates Officer on 01372 474565.  

Closing Date:    8 November 2019

Interview Date: 21 November 2019 

For further information and to apply, please click here.  Please note that we do not accept CVs without an application form  

Elmbridge is an Equal Opportunities Employer 

Logo: RSPBSenior Conservation Officer

Ref: H7P+W-9


£29,507 to £39,342

Full time


The Senior role will lead, manage and develop the conservation team, helping to deliver a work programme focused on our priority landscapes, species and habitats. This will be achieved by deploying the appropriate conservation tools to ensure we achieve our conservation objectives. This may include site safeguard casework, species recovery, land management advice, conservation projects and developing partnership projects with key stakeholders. 

As conservation leader within the area team, the Senior Conservation Officer will contribute expertise to the operational area management structure, developing work plans and/or project ideas. They will also be expected to contribute operational experience to RSPB's policy and advocacy work through communicating our conservation messages. 

We are looking for someone capable of leading our conservation work to deliver the greatest impact for nature. This will require the ability to understand the range of conservation tools, prioritise these to ensure we are doing the most important things in the right places, and to lead people to deliver. The successful candidate will have an important external role, building positive relationships with partners and stakeholders so that RSPB's policies and messages are understood and furthered within relevant partnerships. 

Essential qualities will therefore be leadership, the ability to prioritise, time management, communications skills and energy. Project Management skills and/or and understanding of site safeguard work would also be desirable for this role. A good understanding of the ecology and needs of priority species and habitats within the area is required. This is a wide-ranging role and a flexible attitude and approach will be essential.  

Closing: 1 November 2019

Interview: 15 November 2019, 18 November 2019 

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website.

Logo: RSPBConservation Officer
Reference: 7DaZd-24
Location: Dumfries & Galloway
Salary: £25,463 to £27,585 per annum - Applicants should expect under normal circumstances to receive an offer at the bottom of the advertised range
Hours: Full time
Contract: Permanent 

Do you have a passion for finding solutions that enable sustainable land management; delivering nature conservation at a landscape scale set within a productive and vibrant countryside? We are seeking a highly-motivated individual with energy, enthusiasm and initiative to coordinate our work with partners, land managers and other stakeholders across southern Scotland (specifically covering Dumfries & Galloway, Borders, South Lanarkshire, South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire). 

We are looking for an individual who can communicate knowledgably to a range of people and organisations, both in written and spoken forums; someone who can persuade and inspire while remaining accurate and evidence-based, and who has a passion for finding solutions and identifying win-wins for nature and people. 

You will have a good understanding of upland, wetland and/or coastal habitats and the species associated with them (especially waders and black grouse), as well as high levels of integrated conservation/land management knowledge, the ability to apply it appropriately and the skill to communicate it effectively. This knowledge and experience will enable an informed approach to support the improvement, restoration and creation of high quality habitat for priority species across connected landscapes. 

You will be resilient, resourceful, adaptable and practically minded and capable of delivering work to a high standard. Strong organisational, project management, prioritisation and team building/working skills will be second nature to you. If you think you have the skills, experience and passion needed to take forward nature conservation in southern Scotland, then we'd love to hear from you. 

Closing date: 18 October 2019
Interview date: 5 November 2019 

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website. No agencies please.

Logo: Wiltshire Wildlife TrustTrusts and Grants Officer

Reports to:       Head of Fundraising and Communications

Salary:              £27,000 per annum

Hours:              37.5 per week

Based:              Elm Tree Court, Long Street, Devizes, SN10 1NJ 

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is looking for an ambitious and flexible fundraiser to join us as Trusts and Grants Officer. You will provide a key role in supporting the Trust to deliver its vital conservation work across Wiltshire and Swindon: standing up for wildlife, fighting the effects of climate change and sustainably managing over 3,000 acres of land to help bring about nature’s recovery in our county.  

Reporting to the Head of Fundraising and Communications, you will organise and deliver a targeted and strategic programme of fundraising to support our organisational aims. You will maximise income from trusts and grant-making bodies, ensure timely reporting and maintain relationships with both existing and new funders.  

The role is based in our office in Devizes and will involve some travel within Wiltshire, including our network of 39 wonderful nature reserves. By meeting your fundraising targets, you will enable us to support wildlife and help people reconnect and develop a deeper relationship with the natural world. 

Closing Date:    Monday 21st October 5.00pm   (Shortlisted candidates will be notified by 5.30pm Friday 24th October)  

Written test:      There will be a written test for shortlisted candidates to be submitted by 12 noon Tuesday 5th November 

Interviews:         Monday 11th November 

A full job description and application pack is available to download from our website  

If after reading the job description you would like to discuss this opportunity informally, please contact Dugald on 01380 736 088 or dugaldm@wiltshirewildlife.org    

Logo: Suffolk Wildlife Trust West Suffolk Woodlands Assistant Warden (1-year contract)  

Salary: £17,000 pa (according to level of experience)

Contract type: Fixed term / Working hours: Full time

Location: Bradfield Woods, Felsham, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP30 0AQ  

Suffolk Wildlife Trust is the leading conservation organisation in Suffolk, committed to achieving the best outcomes for biodiversity on its reserves. We have an exciting new opportunity to join our West Suffolk team. 

You will work under the direction of the Woodlands Warden to ensure excellent standards of conservation management and visitor access across Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s West Suffolk woodland reserves. 

Every member of Trust staff is an ambassador for the organisation and this is particularly true of our nature reserve teams. We welcome visitors to our reserves, and your friendly, engaging manner will help ensure all visitors have a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. 

The nature of this role means that a full driving licence is essential. 

Closing date: Friday 25 October 2019

Interview date: Wednesday 6 November 2019 at Bradfield Woods 

Please click here for further information and to apply.  

Unfortunately due to the volume of applicants we are unable to respond individually.

Logo: South East Rivers TrustSenior Project Officer 

Reports to:                   Head of Operations

Location:                      Office based in Carshalton (SM5) with travel across the South East

Salary:                          £30,000 – £35,000 (dependent on experience). A higher salary would be considered for an exceptional candidate.

Contract period:           Full time, permanent (40 hours per week)  

The South East Rivers Trust (SERT) is a leading environmental charity dedicated to achieving healthy river ecosystems across the South East of England. The Trust’s mission is to deliver outstanding river ecosystem enhancement through science-based action, collaboration, education and engagement. We are a member of the national Rivers Trust and is part of the rivers trust movement, which is described as having ‘wet feet’ because it focuses on practical improvement works on the ground. Our core values are central to all we strive to achieve, including bringing positive energy, expertise and specialist knowledge to develop good relationships and deliver to a high standard to make a real difference to rivers and their catchment areas. 

We are seeking a Senior Project Officer to work in the Delivery Team. You will oversee and lead on river restoration and habitat enhancement projects across the SERT area. This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced and knowledgeable individual to join our growing expert team and to contribute to our portfolio of ambitious and bold projects based on sound science and best practice.  

As a key team member at a senior level, you will use your previous experience to oversee all stages of river and catchment enhancement projects, including conception, development, design, delivery and monitoring.  You will work closely with our staff, external partners and stakeholders to identify projects that address priority issues for rivers and their catchments.  

For further information, the job description, person specification and how to apply see www.southeastriverstrust.org/staff-vacancies/  

The deadline for applications is 4th November, with interviews taking place on 14th & 15th November 

Logo: South East Rivers TrustProject Officer 

Reports to:                   Head of Operations

Location:                      Office based in Carshalton (SM5) with travel across the South East

Salary:                          £26,000 – £30,000 (dependent on experience)

Contract period:           Three year contract. Full time (40 hours per week)  

The South East Rivers Trust (SERT) is a leading environmental charity dedicated to achieving healthy river ecosystems across the South East of England. The Trust’s mission is to deliver outstanding river ecosystem enhancement through science-based action, collaboration, education and engagement. We are a member of the national Rivers Trust and part of the rivers trust movement, which is described as having ‘wet feet’ because it focuses on practical improvement works on the ground. Our core values are central to all we strive to achieve, including bringing positive energy, expertise and specialist knowledge to develop good relationships and deliver to a high standard to make a real difference to rivers and their catchment areas. 

We are seeking a Project Officer to work in our Delivery Team. With support from senior staff, you will develop and deliver river restoration and habitat enhancement projects which address priority issues for rivers and their catchments. You will use your growing experience to lead on projects throughout all stages including conception, development, design, delivery and monitoring.  

You will share your knowledge and experience with Assistant Project Officers, who will support you in your projects.  This is an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic individual to join our growing expert team and to contribute to our portfolio of ambitious and bold projects based on sound science and best practice. 

For further information, the job description, person specification and how to apply see www.southeastriverstrust.org/staff-vacancies/  

The deadline for applications is 4th November, with interviews taking place on 14th & 15th November 


 Logo: RSPBWarden
Reference: A1500819
Location: Pitsea, Essex
Salary starting at: £22,073 to £23,912 per annum
Hours: Full time
Contract: Permanent 

Would you like to assist with the management of a diverse suite of nature reserves home to scarce and threatened wildlife like water voles, avocets, bearded tits, corn buntings and rare bees? 

The team in South Essex are seeking a dynamic, resourceful and motivated warden to join a reserves team managing an ever evolving 750 hectares of nature reserves on the north side of the Thames estuary. These six diverse nature reserves comprise of lowland wet grassland, reedbed, fresh and saline lagoons, saltmarsh, mudflats, arable land, scrub, plus rare and nationally important brownfield habitat. 

You will join our small, but hard working team managing and developing our reserves. Your role will be incredibly varied and you'll carry out a range of tasks including: delivering habitat management, species surveying and habitat monitoring, supervising contractors, engaging with stakeholders, maintenance tasks, assisting with the running of events and managing our fabulous volunteers and assistant wardens. This will also include use of the reserves tractor and other machinery. 

We are seeking an individual with experience of

   ●   practical habitat management,    ●   working with and inspiring volunteers,    ●   line management experience;    ●   surveying birds and other taxa;    ●   working with machinery;   ●   reserves infrastructure and estate maintenance skills;   ●   natural history knowledge; especially that of lowland wet grassland species and habitats 

The successful candidate should also be a strong team player with excellent organisational, communication, practical and inter-personal skills. We are a small and hardworking team so are looking for someone to get stuck in to help meet the challenges that face us.

Closing: 20 October 2019
Interview: 8 November 2019 

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website.

Logo: RSPBAssistant Warden 

So - are you're ready for a new challenge?  

Our team manages four excellent reserves centred on the Stour Estuary in North Essex/South Suffolk (think "Constable country" and a superb and picturesque Estuary with thousands of wintering waders, ducks and geese) and we'd like to hear from you.  

We are looking for a good communicator and enthusiastic team player who already has a proven level of reserve management experience to join the Stour Estuary and Wolves Woods team as Assistant Warden to help plan and drive habitat management and wildlife monitoring there. 

Assistant Warden
Reference: A1960919
Location: Essex
Salary: £19,602 to £21,236 per annum - Applicants should expect under normal circumstances to receive an offer at the bottom of the advertised range
Hours: Full time
Contract: Permanent 

Experience of reserve management operations (especially woodlands and wetlands) will be essential, especially the ability to plan work and work within a team, and manage volunteers. A good range of machinery competencies and skills are required (brushcutter/chainsaw essential). Tractor driving qualification and experience would be beneficial. Survey experience covering WeBS and breeding bird surveys of lowland wet grassland and woodland would be beneficial. Experience of having worked with graziers and managing Cross Compliance requirements would be beneficial. 

Closing date: 21 October 2019
Interview date: 12 November 2019

This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. You will be asked to declare unspent convictions and cautions at offer of employment stage.
No agencies please.

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website.  

logo: EcosupportEcosupport Ltd is expanding! 

Are you an enthusiastic, self-motivated and professional Ecologist looking for your next career move? We have 2 exciting opportunities for an experienced Senior Ecologist and Ecologist to join our friendly and dynamic team! 

Ecosupport is an expanding ecological consultancy based in Hampshire. We provide high quality ecological support across a broad range of sectors including residential, transport, utility and site restoration. Our key aim is to help our clients achieve the best outcomes for their schemes whilst securing net benefits for the environment.  

Your role will be to plan, manage and deliver professional ecological services to a broad range of clients. You will be responsible for the coordination of surveys and field staff, as well as liaison with clients and other professionals and organisations.  

You will be based in Fareham, Hampshire, with travel throughout the region and occasionally the surrounding areas. Your time will be divided between office and field-based work. 

Strong communication, organisation and team working skills are essential, as well as a positive attitude, self-discipline and a desire to be challenged! 

We are looking for someone with least two years’ experience working as an Ecological Consultant, capable of taking on your own projects and clients as soon as you’ve settled in to the team. The following experience is essential: 

   ●   Production of a range of technical reports including impact assessment and mitigation strategies   ●   EPSM Licence applications    ●   Project coordination and management    ●   Client liaison & project tendering   ●   Strong all-round field skills   ●   Protected Species licenses desirable, particularly bats   ●   Bat sound analysis using Analook   ●   Creative approach to problem-solving   ●   Relevant BSc as a minimum   ●   Full driving licence essential

Ongoing training opportunities will be provided, alongside a competitive salary and a supportive, dynamic and friendly working environment.


Please apply to claire@ecosupport.co.uk, including a CV and cover letter where relevant. 

Logo: River Thame Conservation TrustNatural Flood Management Project Officer

A Project run by the River Thame Conservation Trust (RTCT), in Partnership with The Upper & Bedford Ouse Catchment Partnership (U&BOCP) -   (Buckingham Area)

Location:  Flexible Working including: Headington, Oxford / Buckingham / Cranfield / Home.

Salary: £24,000 - £28,000 pa (pro rata and depending on experience) for 3.5 Days per Week

Closes: 25 Oct 2019.

Interviews: 30th Oct / 4th and 5th Nov 19, Headington Oxford.  

Are you experienced in Natural Flood Management with the ability to plan and deliver projects and engage and communicate well with a wide range of people, including farmers and landowners in the Buckingham area?  Do you enjoy a varied role working part office based, part outdoors where you have autonomy in your day to day work but also the support and guidance of a friendly team of experienced colleagues? Do you have a can do, enthusiastic attitude and track record of making things happen on the ground? If so, you could be just the person we’re looking for!   

An exciting opportunity now exists to design, plan and deliver a 3-year project of flood mitigation measures designed to work towards protecting properties in Buckingham. The project plan will incorporate a suite of Natural Flood Management techniques.    

See the detailed Job Description and Person Specification on our website  

The Package.  

Salary £24,000 - £28,000 pa (pro rata) at 3.5 days per week, subject to experience, flexible working, 7% company pension, 24 days leave (pro rata), plus public holidays and additional leave between Christmas and New Year. 

This post is part time and initially a three-year fixed term contract with the intention to continue the post subject to funding.  


Please see the full job description and person specification and if you think you fit the bill, send a current CV (max 2 sides A4) with a cover sheet (max 2 sides A4) outlining how your experience and expertise meet the job requirements we’ve outlined and why you’d like to work with the RTCT to jane@riverthame.org.  Please include all your contact details. 

Logo: Cheviot Trees LtdCheviot Trees Ltd 

Growing Team Assistant 

Cheviot Trees are looking to recruit an enthusiastic, self-motivated and flexible individual to assist our experienced growing team at our cell grown tree nursery near Berwick upon Tweed. The right candidate must be able to demonstrate a background in plants and crop growing. The position will assist with plant husbandry, watering and spraying operations, along with various other general nursery activities as required out-with the growing season. The individual will be expected to work both in and outdoors throughout all seasons. 

Essential skills:

   ●   Experience in crop growing – preferably with young trees    ●   Experience with application of fertilisers and pesticides   ●   Use of power tools such as hedge trimmers for extended periods of time   ●   Physically robust and fit   ●   Ability to work within a small and agile team and must be adaptable to short notice instructions and flexible in planning due to outside influences   ●   Excellent communication skills with strong spoken English 

Desirable skills:

   ●   Experience in growing hardy ornamental nursery stock   ●   Experience in identification of pests and diseases   ●   Knowledge in selection of appropriate pesticides   ●   UK driving licence    ●   PA1 & PA6 certificates   ●   Sound knowledge, understanding and practical use of IT systems, including tablets and other electronic devices. 

Typical working hours of 0800 to 1630, with great potential for seasonal overtime and weekend work as required. 

Salary dependant on experience.  

Please apply with a handwritten letter referencing the specific job title being applied for, including full CV showing experience and qualifications, to: Operations Manager, Cheviot Trees Ltd, Newton Brae, Foulden, Berwick upon Tweed  TD15 1UL

Deadline for applications Fri 1 November 2019 

Logo: The Conservation VolunteersSenior Project Officer 

Every day TCV works across the UK to create healthier and happier communities for everyone - communities where our activities have a lasting impact on people's health, prospects and outdoor places. 

This role will be based in Colchester and the successful candidate will be responsible for managing our Essex office, its associated volunteers and partners, and safeguarding the sustainability of the operation. 

The role is offered at 35 hours per week working alternate Sundays. The role will require the successful candidate to organise and deliver high quality, practical environmental conservation projects for volunteers as well as develop and maintain partner relationships. 

You will also be responsible for managing budgets and resources, including vehicles, tools and equipment while leading on/supporting income generation via the pursuit of local authority contracts, grant funded opportunities and corporate funding opportunities, amongst others.

Other aspects of the role will include maintaining safe working practices, recruiting, training and managing volunteers alongside developing a core group that will sustain the project in the long term. You will need to maintain records of activities and report to funders as required.

You will have previous experience of working with volunteers, possess a wide range of practical environmental conservation skills and the personality, aptitude and experience to share them with volunteers of differing abilities. IT literacy and basic financial skills are required and a full, clean driving licence. 

For an informal chat, contact Ben Hammond on 07740 899631. 

The Conservation Volunteers - The Community Volunteering Charity
Join in, feel good 

For further information and to apply, please click here  

Senior Tutor with FSC Margam Discovery Centre, Port Talbot 

Salary –  £23,524 - £26,845 per annum. 

Contract Term – Permanent 

The Senior Tutor will develop, plan and deliver ‘out-of-classroom learning’ activities to a wide ranging audience; engaging and enthusing students to assist FSC achieve their goal of ‘Inspiring Environmental Understanding through first-hand experience’.  The post holder will be expected to lead groups of all abilities in the natural environment with the ability to provide an appropriate standard of care for our learners, and also make a wide-ranging contribution to the work of this busy learning location in a leadership role. 

This is essentially an active role and will require the post-holder to be able to carry out duties associated with effectively managing groups in outdoor learning locations, which may be remote, whilst ensuring the health and safety of the group at all times, including carrying safety sacks. 

 If you feel that you meet the skills we are looking for, then we want to hear from you. 

To find out more, visit our website and download the full vacancy pack for this post or phone our Human Resources team on 01743 852138. 

Send your completed application form and covering letter to: recruitment@field-studies-council.org 

The closing date for receipt of your completed application is 12 noon on Wednesday 23rd October 2019 

Interviews are scheduled to take place at FSC Margam on Tuesday 29th October 2019 

Logo: Scottish Land & EstatesPolicy Adviser Wildlife & Conservation

Permanent post based in Musselburgh

Salary: Dependent on experience 

Scottish Land & Estates is recruiting a policy adviser to lead on Wildlife & Conservation issues. This is a broad ranging role and requires someone with experience of rural and land-based issues. We need someone who can hit the ground running and can confidently represent the interests of our membership and keep members informed through a variety of communication methods.  

Scottish Land & Estates is a membership organisation that represents the interests of rural landowning businesses across Scotland. Our membership is heavily involved in a wide variety of business sectors, all of which are vitally important to rural prosperity and sustainability. Scottish Land & Estates strives to have the true value and contribution of landowners recognised and valued both publicly and politically and aims to promote the contributions of landowners and estates, to protect property rights, to ensure appropriate business and regulatory framework for members’ interests and to play a key role in maintaining and delivering sustainable rural communities. 

Click here to view the Job Description and Personal Specification 

To apply please send your letter and CV to joyce.karch@scottishlandandestates.co.uk by Monday 21 October 2019


Click here to find out how to advertise your job in CJS Professional and reach 100,000+ fellow professionals.



Back to Top

Volunteers: 131 adverts for voluntary posts added this month  see all of these online at: http://www.countryside-jobs.com/vols

Advertise your voluntary roles with CJS - it's free! Click here.

We can also include details of conservation tasks, volunteer taster days or recruitment days, for a free listing simply email up to 50 words to ranger@countryside-jobs.com.

Back to Top

Surveys and Fieldwork: additions in September

Many conservation organisations appeal for volunteer surveyors to record and submit local sightings for a national wildlife survey.

Taking part in any of these surveys will give you useful experience and also help to extend the scientific knowledge of a species, so vital for appropriate conservation management. Some include training in survey techniques and some may even pay expenses. 



Rainfall Observers

SEPA is looking for volunteer rainfall observers to collect data daily at around 9am and submit the information online. There are currently 134 rainfall observers across Scotland who play an important part in collecting this valuable data for SEPA. https://c-js.co.uk/2lEmnzR



The Big Farmland Bird Count will be back in 2020 for its 7th year and we can now confirm the dates. The count will take place from Friday 7th to Sunday 16th February 2020. http://www.bfbc.org.uk  



The University Mammal Challenge (UMAC) will run from 1st January to 30th June 2020, with registration opening on 23rd October 2019. Get a student team together to survey your campus for mammals and see if you can win UMAC 2020! For full details and registration go to:  https://www.mammal.org.uk/umac/


Durham Wildlife Trust – Mink Monitoring

Volunteers Wanted!  We are gathering evidence of mink locations across the whole of the North East of England. If you can help record signs, monitor track-rafts or use one of our cameras to help please contact Kirsty Pollard, kpollard@durhamwt.co.uk


Fox identification

As part of a degree at the University of Reading, Hannah Millgate wants to examine how accurate members of the public can be in identifying individual foxes from photographs and videos. To do this, she requires help with two things: First, she needs members of the public to send her photographs and / or videos of the foxes in their garden. Secondly, she needs volunteers to take part in a series of identification quizzes to test how good people are at identifying foxes from photographs and videos. Find out more by contacting Hannah on foxes@reading.ac.uk


If you are interested in helping with any of the surveys please contact the person or see the website listed.

Please see the full listings online at: http://www.countryside-jobs.com/workdays/surveys


Features and In Depth Articles.


On the BlogWhat's the paw count on your site? Do the canine visitors (or their owners) cause you problems? Or could they bring you an increase in visitor numbers?

It's Walk Your Dog Week (1-7/10/19) which was founded in 2010 to bring awareness to canine obesity and behaviour with the aim of encouraging people to spend more time with their dogs, to enjoy walking them and taking care of them and in the process create a routine and helping pets and owners change their lifestyles. So perhaps now's a good time to encourage more four-footed visitors who'll bring their humans with them.

Introducing the CJS Team dogsYou may have noticed the CJS Team are doggie people and will have seen Kerryn's Labradors Dido, Hester and Flora popping up on our social media from time to time often with the honorary title of 'Office Dog', they like to keep the office team on their toes - quite literally sometimes, stepping over and around slumbering canines whilst avoiding the squeaky toy land mines. The lovely Otto occupies Katie and family whilst Ed keeps an eye on Amy and was the companion to her beloved (and much missed) William.  The one with the ginormous ears is Rosita who belongs to Tracey and is a rescued Podenco (extra points if you guessed that), an Ibizan Hound who is learning all about pheasants this year - they keep her transfixed for hours.

Our outdoor dogs pull us away from computer screens and into the countryside on a regular basis.   It's well known that dogs keep us healthy with significant physical and mental health benefits. Research recently found that dog owners are far more likely to meet weekly exercise targets of 150 minutes per week than people without dogs. In fact:

64% of dog owners met the physical activity guidelines through dog walking alone;

Dog owners are 14 times more likely to walk for recreation;

Dog walking was in addition to – not instead of – other exercise.

In 2008 Stephen Jenkinson asked: "Do you have 'issues' with dog owners? Are the same old signs and leaflets not improving things? If so – you are not alone! And better still, the advice and support you need is out there, if you really want to improve things." In his article Walkers with dogs: new approaches to better management. Read it here.

Earlier this year he was one of the speakers at the “Sharing Good Practice - People and Dogs in the Outdoors” seminar delivered by The Outdoor Recreation Network hosted by Forestry England and The Kennel Club informing attendees that: "Since 2010, dog ownership is up 10% and is now at 8.5 million dogs. 26% of homes have a dog and astonishingly over half of all outdoor visits include a dog." So it's quite likely that your countryside site has a significant paw count as well as foot fall.

By Dr Elizabeth Rogers wrote a report on the seminar here which has links to many resources including a youtube recording of some of the sessions.


Full size graphic here - just so you can check out those ears and see our much loved dogs in greater detail! (Yes, Dido is wearing boots.  No, the tree is not growing out of Otto's head! But doesn’t he sit nicely, showing what a handsome boy he is.)


logo: Hedgehog StreetThe changing habitats of hedgehogs

How the human landscape has influenced hedgehog habitats in the UK

Grace Johnson, Hedgehog Officer

Photo by Graham Ritchie

Photo by Graham Ritchie

Hedgehogs are a generalist species, not just in their feeding habits but also their choice of habitats. Our only native UK species, the west European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) can thrive in both urban and rural environments. As the name suggests, hedgehogs are often found in and around hedgerows, but other habitats include farming pastures, woodland edges and more increasingly in gardens. The only places a hedgehog wouldn’t be found in the UK are some islands, and upland areas such as mountainsides. It would be easy to think that an animal as opportunistic as this would be thriving in the wild, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. It was estimated that the UK hosted 36.5 million hedgehogs in the 1950s but as a result of development and expansion of the built environment, hedgehog numbers have dropped. Whilst they’re not an easy species to survey, the evidence we do have tells us that numbers are declining rapidly. By 1995 the estimate was revised down to 1.5 million.


The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018, published by People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, reviews the distribution and abundance of hedgehogs in urban and rural habitats. The report states that rural hedgehogs declined between 2002 and 2017. PTES’ Mammals on Roads survey, suggests that hedgehogs in rural locations are under a higher threat of road fatality, as a result of higher speed limits and reduced lighting. Agricultural intensification resulting in habitat loss and fragmentation in the rural environment has also contributed to the decline in hedgehog numbers. There is also a higher incidence of badgers in rural areas, which are the main predator of hedgehogs in the UK. However, the fact that badgers and hedgehogs co-exist in many areas indicates that we need a better understanding of the habitat features that support both. When environmental factors and subsequent food availability are favourable, badger predation appears to be less of a threat to hedgehogs.

The State of UK Hedgehogs 2018

The State of UK Hedgehogs 2018

Data from urban hedgehog populations however, shows a slightly different picture. The distribution of urban populations has reduced in the last 15 years, however more recently abundance in some locations has increased. Along with many other UK mammal species, such as foxes and grey squirrels, hedgehogs increasingly make use of our towns and cities. Whilst the term ‘urban environment’ is synonymous with skyscrapers and developments, it also encapsulates the suburbs and urban parks found in and around settlements.

Hedgehog Street

Hedgehog Street


Gardens are becoming increasingly important for hedgehogs and other species whose natural habitats are under threat. Gardens provide shelter and food and, increasingly, a hedgehog house and supplementary food from a homeowner. Hedgehogs frequently top the polls of Britain’s favourite animal, so homeowners are often keen to help their local hedgehogs. But there are drawbacks as well. Gardens, by their very nature are divided by fences and walls, thus limiting a hedgehog’s territory. Hedgehogs roam far and wide to find suitable shelter and food, and can travel an average of 2 km in a single night, which means they need a lot of gardens. Simple actions such as creating gaps in fences to make ‘hedgehog highways’, connects gardens and allows hedgehogs to easily travel as far as they need to find food and mates. As well as installing hedgehog highways, homeowners can also help their visitors by leaving supplementary food out (meaty cat or dog food), making a ‘wild corner’ in the garden to provide shelter and encourage invertebrates, and being vigilant when building bonfires and strimming. Pre-prepared bonfires are unfortunately ideal habitat for hedgehogs around the 5th November, when they are searching for hibernacula. Accidents can be avoided by checking the bonfire very carefully before lighting, placing a wire fence around the outside, or alternatively building it or moving it at the last moment, to prevent any hedgehogs from taking up residence. Additionally, a thorough check of garden areas to be strimmed, as well as an initial cut to around 10cm, can prevent fatal injuries to any hidden hedgehogs.


With increasing public awareness and knowledge of hedgehogs, gardens have the potential to become a stronghold for our remaining hedgehogs. With this in mind, Hedgehog Street was set up in 2011 by People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. One of the main aims is to encourage people to make their gardens more hedgehog friendly through wildlife gardening, hedgehog holes and highways. Nearly 70,000 people have registered as ‘hedgehog champions’ since the campaign began. Hedgehog Street also offers ecology and habitat training for land managers, liaises with developers to increase connectivity in new developments, funds hedgehog research and carries out engagement and outreach work. For more information about the project, please visit hedgehogstreet.org.

Use this link when sharing this article



logo: Partnership for Biodiversity in PlanningHow many small developers actually think about their wildlife impact?


Image: Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning

Image: Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning

Many householders and smaller developers may be unaware that local planning authorities (LPAs) have a statutory requirement to consider the ecological impact of development proposals, and to promote biodiversity improvements. Failure to consider the ecological impact can result in delays and additional knock-on costs for projects, such as when unforeseen ecological surveys have to be carried out during particular seasons or becoming caught up in costly court proceedings due to a failure to address legal protections on wildlife.


At a recent event a senior planning officer at the London Borough of Newham estimated they received around 4,000 planning applications last year. Of those, only five were large developments that would be expected to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and an associated Ecology Impact Assessment (EcIA). The vast majority, 3995 applications, would need to be individually reviewed by the authority to ensure they had conducted the necessary ecological checks.

New Forest Burnet Moth (Credit: David Green, Butterfly Conservation)

New Forest Burnet Moth

(Credit: David Green, Butterfly Conservation)


New developments can put pressure on wildlife in a number of ways, through damage and loss of key habitats and networks. This in turn can threaten vulnerable protected’ and ‘priority’ species. ‘Protected’ species are legally protected, as outlined by Natural England, and include: mammals, such as bats, hazel dormice, water voles; birds such as the hen harrier and Dartford warbler; amphibians, such as natterjack toads; molluscs and invertebrates, like the Roman snail and the New Forest burnett moth; as well as many plants like the corn marigold.


There are also 1,150 ‘priority’ species in the UK which are threatened and require conservation. Since 1970’s, many UK wildlife species have been in decline, with one in ten UK species threatened with extinction as a result of land use changes from intensive farming and urbanisation (State of Nature report, 2016).


Source: Defra

Source: Defra et al 2018

Sensitive development and landscape design is therefore vital to help these threatened species. This should be informed by ecological surveys to ensure the designs address potential threats to species and habitats. Considering local ecology early in the process can help clarify key wildlife considerations for a site and start the process of thinking how to enhance biodiversity as an integral part of a project’s design. It can also help avoid unplanned for delays, unexpected costs, and prevent the need to reassess potential ecological impacts during a planning application.  


The Wildlife Assessment Check


This lack of awareness and potential threat from development is why the Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning, an alliance of 19 conservation, planning and development organisations funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, has created the ‘Wildlife Assessment Check tool. The Wildlife Assessment Check is a free online tool that identifies whether there may be any protected or priority wildlife species, as well as statutory designated sites such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) within or near to the location where proposed works are to take place.


The Wildlife Assessment Check aims to raise awareness about legal responsibilities, to provide basic guidance on biodiversity enhancement, links to key contacts and resources and help cut delays in the application process by encouraging an early ecological assessment of a site.


The Wildlife Assessment Check also supports local planning authorities in the process of validating planning applications, helping them to meet their biodiversity duty, by encouraging applicants to consider wildlife in advance of making a planning application.


“The feedback from our technicians validating applications is that it is very useful as a tool” local planning officer feedback


How does it work?

It’s a free tool that’s easy to use and allows applicants to check if they need expert ecological advice before submitting a planning application. They simply answer a few questions about the site, the location, local habitats and type of works involved.

The first page of the Wildlife Assessment Check invites users to identify where their project is located

The first page of the Wildlife Assessment Check invites users to identify where their project is located


Once completed, which takes around five minutes, the tool indicates whether the project is likely to require professional ecological advice. It outlines a list of protected and priority wildlife species that may need to be considered, and whether the proposed site is on or near any statutory designated sites.

Image: Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning

Image: Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning


Each species or group listed contains a link with detailed species guidance notes, including information about UK legislation, mitigation, proposals for habitat enhancement, and details of survey methods and timing.


The results also point to the relevant planning authority and local environmental record centre the applicants should consult to obtain local wildlife data, as the tool is only based on national species distribution maps. The tool provides the results in a report format that can be saved and downloaded so it can be given to a consultant ecologist to help indicate whether they need to undertake a Preliminary Ecological Assessment and it can also be submitted as a part of a planning application.


The tool is available at www.biodiversityinplanning.org. The website also contains additional information and resources to encourage developers to take greater account of biodiversity in their projects.


The Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning is currently finalising a ‘Biodiversity in Planning’ Practice Advice Note for planners and is meeting various LPAs to introduce this guidance and encourage them to puts links to the Wildlife Assessment Check on their planning portals.


If you are interested in receiving further information about the project or a presentation about the tool and planning guidance, please contact the project officer:

Dr. Rosalie Callway, email: pbp@bats.org.uk

Use this link when sharing this article 


logo: WWTCanada, Russia, Scandinavia and Svalbard


Most of us will never make it to any of these places in our lifetime. You may not even have heard of Svalbard - it’s a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole where the small human population lives alongside reindeer and polar bears.


For hundreds of thousands of migratory birds, these far-flung places are their summer breeding grounds. But each year as the days start to shorten, these birds begin their journeys across land and sea, arriving hundreds and even thousands of miles later on the UK’s shores. Here, on our coastal and inland wetlands, they’ll over-winter and build up their fat reserves before starting their incredible journey back to their northern breeding grounds next spring.

Yet the wetlands that are the winter home to these birds are themselves under threat from drainage and pollution, invasive species and the over-harvesting. With no wetlands, we will have no birds.

The fact that we need to conserve and protect both the wetlands and the birds that visit them was the inspiration for Sir Peter Scott, founder of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

View of Slimbridge and Severn estuary – Sasha Dench/WWT

View of Slimbridge and Severn estuary (Sasha Dench/WWT)


Just after World War II, he moved to Slimbridge, a tiny village on the edge of the Severn estuary in Gloucestershire, and a favourite winter home for geese, ducks and other migratory birds.

Scott loved the wild open marshes of the Severn Vale, and the birds that visited each year. Initially a painter and shooter of wildfowl, he learned how to protect the birds, and then on to understanding their wetland habitats.

In 1946 he established what became the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) at Slimbridge as a centre for science and conservation. Uniquely at the time, he opened his grounds to the public so that anyone could enjoy getting close to nature.

WWT continues that legacy to this day, both at our headquarters in Slimbridge, and at our 10 wetland sites across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In total our sites cover over 3,000 hectares of critically important wetlands.


Because we’ve been doing this for 70 years, we’re pioneers in saving wetland wildlife, both in the UK and around the world. We work internationally in key global wetland areas, balancing conservation with sustainable livelihoods and influencing national and international conservation policies.

We are one of the largest wetland conservation organisations in the world, and our work covers everything from saving species, tracking and technologies, habitat management and conservation, science, wildlife health and monitoring and education.

In addition to our wetland reserves, we also work in partnership with local authorities and statutory bodies to plan and deliver individual projects. In the UK this ranges from a project to reduce flooding using natural landscape features in West Somerset, to restoring the urban catchment of a stream in urban Slough.

Spoon-billed sandpiper being headstarted – Paul Marshall/WWT

Spoon-billed sandpiper being headstarted (Paul Marshall/WWT)


Internationally, our work focuses on globally endangered species, and those which can act as flagships for wetland conservation along international flyways. We work alongside partners to understand and help re-establish native populations such as the spoon-billed sandpiper in Artic Russia and the Madagascar pochard, a type of duck in its native country, and the rarest duck species in the world.

The type of work we do provides a wide range of hands-on, interventionist roles both on our sites, and further afield along migratory bird migration routes. And, because we are at the forefront of environmental science when it comes to so many of these species, staff working for WWT have the opportunity to get involved in a range of fascinating and ground-breaking technologies and techniques.


When it comes to saving species, particular skills are required in the study and management of small, threatened populations, and wildlife health and conservation breeding, as we successfully deliver the hands-on recovery of species.

Like most conservation charities, much of our work centres on identifying an issue or a problem through observation and research, and then trialling solutions. The work is as diverse as the species and habitats that we inhabit.

Bewick’s swan - WWT

Bewick’s swan (WWT)

For example, we had an issue at our site in Martin Mere, Lancashire where, during the over-wintering season, Bewick’s and whooper swans returning to their night-time roost from their feeding grounds were colliding with the high-voltage electricity power lines that lay in their flightpath.

Detailed observational studies, combined with the electricity company’s own records showed exactly which were the most frequently struck parts of the power lines along the birds’ flightpath. Combining this with other variables such as wind direction, feeding patterns according to the time of the agricultural year and the type of deflectors available all helped identify the best type of deflector and where to site it along the birds’ routes to provide the best outcome for both the birds, and the power company. It’s hoped the research will help other electricity power companies elsewhere in the country.

Various powerline deflectors, Martin Mere – Sasha Dench/WWT

Various powerline deflectors, Martin Mere (Sasha Dench/WWT)


Internationally, we’re working to save the spoon-billed sandpiper, with less than 250 birds in the wild, it’s one of the most threatened birds on the planet. It breeds in the Russian Far East, and migrates 8,000km to winter in southern China, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand. Working with others, we’re helping track their migration using satellite tags, establishing a breeding population to safe-guard against extinction, and “headstarting” (hatching and rearing to fledging), which has resulted in the successful release of over 100 birds back to the wild.


Whatever your interests in natural sciences and conservation, whether it’s genetics, ecology, wildlife management and species reintroductions or looking after our living collections, or even the human dimensions of conservation such as environmental economics, international biodiversity regulation, to the politics of climate change or work with local communities, there’s plenty of fascinating, life-affirming, interesting and enjoyable roles to enable you to follow your passion, develop your knowledge and skills and find a rewarding career with WWT.


Keep an eye on the CJS for our latest jobs.


Use this link when sharing this article


logo: Yorkshire Dales Millennium TrustConnecting people and place

When People and the DALES (Diversity, Access, Learning, Environment, Sustainability), Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s outreach project, won the Government’s Year of Green Action Award, it was a celebration of not only ten years hard work but the number of lives the scheme has touched.


Judy Rogers and Rosie Russell-Cohen receive the 2019 Year of Green Action Award (Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust)

Judy Rogers and Rosie Russell-Cohen receive the 2019 Year of

Green Action Award (Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust)

Representatives from the programme received the prestigious accolade in a parliamentary reception attended by Ministers and MPs as well as leaders from across the environmental sector.


The project was celebrated for ‘connecting people and place at a time when that relationship is at risk’ by the judging panel headed by the Campaign for National Parks.


People and the DALES welcomes groups from nearby urban areas of Leeds, Bradford and North West Lancashire into the stunning Yorkshire Dales for health and wellbeing opportunities.


Participants include people with a disability, young people, people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, individuals from deprived locations and those with mental health difficulties.


To date, more than 10,000 individuals have taken part in People and the DALES events including walks, lambing, tree planting, conservation work and training.


The award-winning scheme enables people that would not otherwise take part in such activities, such as refugees and asylum seekers, to experience the Yorkshire Dales.


Judy Rogers, YDMT’s Community Development Worker, said: “It was a pleasure to receive the award on behalf of all the refugees and asylum seekers we have worked with over the last 10 years.


“It has been amazing working with such resilient, hardworking and cheerful people despite the trauma and adversity they have experienced. Their stories have enriched my life and the lives of those that they have met.


“In a small way I hope that the visits they have made to the Yorkshire Dales, through People and the DALES, have given them hope for a better life, respite from the waiting for acceptance from the Home Office, and an opportunity to experience a warm welcome from people who live in this amazing landscape.


“It is thanks to our supporters and partners that we can achieve such success and make a real difference. Organisations like People’s Postcode Lottery and the Heritage Fund have had a significant impact on our work, as have Natural England, Malham Tarn Field Centre, Friends of the Dales, Morrisons, the Wharfedale Foundation, the George Martin Trust and members of local communities.” 


People and the DALES is run by Judy and Rosie from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s office in Clapham, in the south of the national park.

A group from Horton Housing enjoying a session lambing (Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust)

A group from Horton Housing enjoying a session lambing

(Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust)


Over the last ten years it has worked with many organisations who give up their time and energy to the project voluntarily, all to make a difference to people’s lives.


And it is a truly Park-wide effort. People and the DALES couldn’t happen without partnerships that have been cultivated over many years.


Farmers such as Rodney Beresford at Ribblehead and Neil Heseltine at Malham allow groups onto their farms to help with lambing and tree planting while organisations such as Natural England give opportunities for drystone walling.


Then there are friendship weekends when local communities welcome refugees and asylum seekers into their homes for events themed around friendship.


This year, in partnership with the community in Skipton and Bradford Immigration and Asylum Seekers Support and Advice Network (BIASAN), families from China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sudan participated in activities such as gardening and making bird feeders, ceilidh dancing and singing and felt-making and mosaics.


People and the DALES changes lives and those who have been involved become advocates for not only the project but for the national park too. Tinta is just one of those people.


Originally from Ivory Coast, he has visited the Dales three times with YDMT – most recently as part of an archaeological dig which explored the site of a medieval chapel to the south of the current Methodist Chapel in Malham.


He arrived in the UK in 2012 after fleeing Ivory Coast and his story illustrates why People and the DALES is so powerful at fostering new friendships and understanding between communities, as well as improving wellbeing for so many diverse groups.


He says: “My dad started his own business importing and exporting cocoa and Peugeot cars, and by 1998 it employed 200 people. Then chaos and political turmoil arose. The south and north were in conflict. Dad was a northerner living in the south and was accused of being a traitor.

Tree planting with Darwen Asylum Seekers and Refugee Enterprise (Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust)

Tree planting with Darwen Asylum Seekers and Refugee

Enterprise (Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust)


“A snatch squad arrested him. They were not the police but army commandos. We gave them money but still they took him. He was shot three hours later. I was 13 and my life was turned upside down.


“It had been planned that I’d go to London to study, and then come back and take the keys to the business. Now I was taken by the military and accused of being a traitor. Luckily, a French UN unit intervened, and I was released. But, because I was the son of a murdered man they thought I would come after them. My life was in danger.


“I am claiming asylum and live in Blackburn. I’m studying at Blackburn College, volunteer in the office at the Asylum and Refugee Centre and at the weekly Drop-In. Despite many challenges I want to support new refugees.


“I translate for Arabic and French speakers helping them in their case with the Home Office, and spend time talking to students in local schools about life as a refugee in a bid to spread awareness and break down barriers.


“I took part in the People and the DALES training event near Ribblehead where we learnt to read maps and use a compass.


“Every time I come to this area, I don’t want to leave. It’s uplifting!”


To find out more log on to ydmt.org/what-we-do/people-and-the-dales

Use this link when sharing this article


logo: Keep It Bin ItKeep It, Bin It: the national anti-littering campaign aiming to make dropping litter culturally unacceptable

No More Rubbish Excuses!


Millions of pieces of litter are dropped every day in England.  Anyone working in the environment sector will know that littering is not only unsightly, but has a devastating impact on our native wildlife. Worryingly, 1 in 5 people admit to dropping litter1. A study last year showed 1 in 4 people ‘carefully litter’, which involves leaving drinks cans and coffee cups on window ledges or placing rubbish next to full bins2. That’s why tackling litter is a government priority, as set out in the Litter Strategy for England 2017 and the landmark 25 Year Environment Plan.


The national ‘Keep it, Bin it’ campaign, run by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) with support from environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, brings together a coalition of partners to encourage people to responsibly dispose of their litter.  The campaign is supported by some of the biggest names in retail, travel and entertainment.


The Litter Strategy outlined the need to engage with young people outside the school environment, as evidence shows that this age group is more likely to find littering acceptable in certain situations.  As a result the campaign is targeted towards 16-24 year olds, with a clear call to action: if there’s not a bin, keep your rubbish and bin it when there is one.

The campaign features poignant images of animals eating and getting tangled in litter, contrasted against typical excuses people give for dropping litter. With the RSPCA responding to 1,500 calls about litter-related incidents affecting animals every year - the emotive imagery highlights the impact that littering has on our environment and native wildlife.


Working together to tackle litter

In its first year, the ‘Keep It, Bin It’ campaign has been raising the profile of the litter problem by reaching millions of people both online and out of home.  Everyone from film buffs to festival goers have had opportunity to see the campaign – thanks largely in part to partnerships with some of the country’s biggest businesses.


The campaign film was shown in Cineworld cinemas during the spring and early summer thanks to our partnership with PepsiCo UK.  With support from Mars Wrigley Confectionery, the ‘Keep it, Bin it’ message is reaching young audiences through the ‘Bin it!’ roadshow, a fun and interactive presentation being performed in schools up and down the country.

Image: Keep It Bin It

Image: Keep It Bin It

In an effort to tackle litter on roadsides and the railways, the campaign’s impactful imagery has been on display in travel hubs across the country, thanks to campaign partners Network Rail, Extra MSA, Roadchef and Moto.


The campaign also teamed up with Leeds Festival to engage 75,000 festival attendees with the ‘Keep It, Bin It’ message. The campaign commissioned environmental street artist ATM to create a mural over the course of the festival weekend. A huge hit with the young people in attendance, one festival goer said: “The artwork is beautiful – it shows how all the plastic and the rubbish can go straight to the environment and the animals themselves.”


Liv Cooke, the world champion freestyle footballer called on her followers to find creative ways to bin their litter as part of her #backofthebinchallenge. The challenge has had over half a million views on Tik Tok, a social media platform particularly popular with teenagers. Continuing the football theme, campaign partner McDonald’s joined forces with JOE Media to create Rubbish Commentary’, which uses humour to tackle a serious subject.


Image: Keep It Bin It

Together these activities are raising awareness of the threat that littering poses to our natural wildlife, whilst encouraging young people to examine their behaviour and improve it. At almost a year old, it’s been great to see so many people getting behind the campaign. There’s plenty more planned – so watch this space!


Supporting the Campaign

We are keen to hear from commercial and charitable organisations that are interested in supporting the ‘Keep it, Bin it’ campaign. Simply email our partnerships team at keepitbinitpartners@keepbritaintidy.org or head to the campaign webpage  to express an interest. You can follow the campaign by searching #KeepItBinIt


1              Keep Britain Tidy (2012) The Little Book of Litter https://c-js.co.uk/30V4zPD

2              Keep Britain Tidy (2018) https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/news/one-four-admit-carefully-littering

Use this link when sharing this article 


logo: what3wordsHow three words can communicate any rural location


Image: what3words

Image: what3words

what3words is a new global addressing system that has given every 3m square in the world a unique 3 word address. Now, people can refer to any precise location using just three words from the dictionary. For example, ///officers.barrel.uncouth is the starting point of a popular walking route from Grosmont to Whitby.


The company was created after co-founder and CEO Chris Sheldrick felt the struggles of poor addressing in rural areas. Coming from a farming background, Chris recognised that when it comes to describing where things are in the countryside, things can get really complicated. Many places like field entrances, stables and damaged trees have no address at all, and postcodes tend to cover unhelpfully broad areas.


“Growing up in rural Hertfordshire, I used to wait by the roadside to flag down delivery vehicles that would otherwise sail past our farm entrance. The fact that we had no simple way to describe an exact location troubles me to this day. What if a fire had broken out in a barn, or if someone was caught in running machinery?”

Image: what3words

Image: what3words


This summer, many of the UK’s Police, Fire and Ambulance services announced they were using the what3words system to save lives, precious time and much-needed resources. Forces are urging members of the public to download the free what3words app so they can be found more easily in an emergency. The campaign particularly resonated with those living and working in rural communities, where poor addressing remains a daily issue. But as more people become aware of the system, 3 word addresses are steadily helping to make the British countryside less frustrating, more efficient and safer for everyone.


Already, what3words has been used many times to effectively get emergency assistance to vulnerable people in remote locations - from lost walkers to injured runners and horse-riders. The system was even used to help Dorset & Wiltshire and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services rescue a glider pilot, who had crashed up a 40ft tree. For Rural Crime Officers around the country, what3words is also being seen as a major step forward in the reporting and tackling of rural crimes, such as hare coursing, machinery theft and fly-tipping.

Image: what3words

Image: what3words


Aside from emergency response services, what3words is used by rural communities all across the UK. From the UK Power Networks now accepting 3 word addresses for those reporting issues with power lines, to horse-riding app Huuffe to Lee Valley Park, who’ve placed signs around the park to guide visitors. 


Farmers like Jeremy Perkins, Livestock Breeder of TwoMills Herd have been quick to embrace the technology. Jeremy has made a record of the 3 word addresses for all his field and farm entrances. He uses what3words to get his locum vet to the exact location of an animal in distress or needing attention.


He says: “I use a 3 word address to mark the easiest place for my vet to access the remote river meadows where my sheep and cattle handling systems are located. As my home farm is way off the official SatNav postcode what3words was useful when I needed to direct a vet to one of my barns in the middle of the night for a difficult calving.”



Jon Collins, Senior Landscape Consultant at Maydencroft, struggled to communicate the precise location of trees that needed felling. Now, his team uses what3words to accurately locate these - rather than resorting to printed maps.



Around the world, people are finding more and more ways to use what3words. From the millions of drivers who can use what3words to navigate more accurately in Mercedes-Benz and in Ford vehicles, to those navigating crowded cities using the technology. Its other partners span industries including logistics, e-commerce, automotive and mobility, postal services, humanitarian and emergency services, asset management, travel, and navigation.


How to download what3words

The what3words system is available in 37 languages. Individuals can download the free mobile app at w3w.co/Android and w3w.co/ios or they can access the system at map.what3words.com

Use this link when sharing this article


CJS Focus The most recent edition: Countryside Management

is below, scroll down, or view the most recent edition here or download a pdf copy.

The next edition will be published on 2 December and is looking at: the Next Generation.


Enquire about CJS Focus (or make suggestions for future editions) by contacting Amy here.

logo: CJS 

Countryside Jobs Service®

logo: Countryside Management AssociationFocus on Countryside Management

In association with the Countryside Management Association

23 September 2019


Some things change, some stay the same – reflections on the countryside profession in 2019

Ted Talbot – Countryside Manager for the National Trust in the Peak District.


Ted Talbot

Ted Talbot

There is a scene in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail where King Arthur is challenged by the Black Knight.  It does not go well for the Black Knight and, in a darkly humorous exchange, he is finally left on the ground limbless, but still trying to fight on. 


And perhaps that’s the problem and the joy of being a ranger at the moment that, despite having chunks lopped off our collective profession in the UK over the last 10 years, we can’t help but fight on. Our cause remains a most noble one: one that some rangers in more challenging parts of the world lay down their lives for and that we remember each year on World Ranger Day at the end of July.


So, when asked to think about what has changed in the 30 years that I have spent in this vocation I am mindful to look both backwards and forwards over a timescale that is more significant than the current UK age of austerity.


To begin at the beginning is to recognise that this is still a young profession, perhaps only 70 years old in the UK – when the first National Park, the Peak District, appointed Tommy Tomlinson as a Warden.  So it is no surprise that we are still not well understood as a sector. Rangering in the UK may well have been influenced by the creation of the US National Parks which celebrated their 100th year anniversary in 2017 and had the famous John Muir as one of the first Park Rangers at Yellowstone – although a nice chap called Galen Clarke was actually in post before him. What they shared with Tommy was a clear focus on people, encouraging and promoting a love of the outdoors and care for special places, landscapes and nature.

Area Ranger Chris Milner checking livestock at Longshaw (Ted Talbot, National Trust)

Area Ranger Chris Milner checking livestock at Longshaw

(Ted Talbot, National Trust)


It is an achievement that this is now a global profession, celebrated by the cartoon hero of ‘Ranger Smith’ with Lego and Playmobile Ranger models now available. It is recognized by the IUCN and supported by a clear set of internationally agreed competences for front line ‘protected area staff’ working in parks all around the world. These core skills broadly focus on the two themes of people management and the management of special places – usually of natural or cultural significance, protected by a legal designation.


In the UK, with our 15 national parks, almost 400 local authorities, conservation charities, some water companies and private estates employing rangers and countryside officers, it has been hard to get accurate workforce figures.  An estimate of 4000 – 5000 may be reasonable with, historically, the public sector being the biggest employer of rangers and countryside staff.    


However, public sector cuts of 35 – 40% in real terms since 2010 have impacted on many public Parks and Countryside Services with volunteers being asked to step in and rangers joining the list of endangered public professions. At the same time the employment of people on the land in general has changed dramatically and we could add small-scale rural farmers to this list of disappearing jobs as the supermarket stranglehold on cheap food from across the world has bitten.


Helicopter bringing gully blocking materials onto the Kinder Scout area

to stop erosion and slow the flow of water (Ted Talbot, National Trust)

But, perhaps the biggest recent blow to our profession came quietly when the statutory body that nationally represented what we do, the Countryside Agency, was dissolved in 2006.  With it we lost our national champion and political advocate. Along with an understanding of the value paid professional rangers can add to local community-based nature conservation work and how countryside projects can act as a catalyst for positive environmental and social development in both rural and urban settings. Dr Ian Rotherham from Sheffield Hallam University charts this era in his paper – the rise and fall of countryside management, presented at the Countryside Management Association conference in 2016. (read Dr Rotherham’s thoughts on the piece in CMA Ranger magazine)


Personally, I just miss the Country Code and that helpful plasticine sheepdog on the telly that the Countryside Agency championed.  With their McDonalds in one hand and mobile phone in the other, on some days it feels like a small percentage of British people really have lost the plot when they visit the great outdoors on a Bank Holiday Monday and Mountain Rescue incident stats for the Peak District often conclude “unprepared for the uplands/bad weather”.  There is division and change afoot in the nation and the countryside is part of this. But perhaps our biggest challenge is the same as it ever was, connecting people to outdoor places and helping them to understand why our natural heritage really matters and how best to prepare for and enjoy their visit.


And yet everywhere I look there is still cause for great optimism. Countryfile is a national favourite and the Princes Trust has launched a Survival Guide for Rural Communities.  No one expected the new leaders of the Green Revolution to be the nation’s favourite TV wildlife granddad and a schoolgirl from Sweden, but these are desperate times. In the vacuum of the current national politics, David and Greta are giants to be celebrated and supported. Extinction Rebellion and a summer heat wave with added floods once again reminding us that Brexit is barely relevant in our list of priorities.


Ranger Kate Bradshaw sharpening her chainsaw at

Ilam (Ted Talbot, National Trust)

People are still employed in the urban fringes and countryside – from Forest School workers to professional dog walkers, many of us still want our loved ones to experience the benefits of nature and fresh air.  It’s the age of the ‘experience economy’!  Local tourism is stronger than ever, and lycra-clad visitors run, swim, walk and cycle for charity, whilst taking a selfie in a tabard and eating local plant based burgers.   Suddenly, we are also interested in releasing beavers, lynx, storks, black grouse and wildcats across the land, replacing what we have lost and rewilding our parks and farmland – with exceptional results at places like the Knepp Estate in Sussex. Recognising everything this does to help wildlife, store carbon, cleanse our water, our air and our soil as well as our own increasingly urbanised souls.


Surprisingly many of these ideas have been referenced in the Government’s new 25 year Environment Plan as well as the draft Agriculture Bill published last year and on hold – like everything else. As a nation we are way behind (70%, in fact) our target for planting 11 million trees, but everyone is talking about tree planting again - all of which would suggest there is plenty of work for new rangers and countryside workers to do again very soon if we can only just get on with it.


So, what skills do modern rangers need to adapt to these trying times? The commodification of education has not helped us and there is no clear workforce planning for our sector so “oversupply” of trained people for fewer jobs is a reality. Much has changed in our workplaces and it is not all for the better.   There is no doubt that the technology available to us can be both a curse and a boon.  Using drones and trail-cams for ecological surveys can be quick and less disturbing for both rangers and wildlife alike, especially in treetops, marshes or cliff ledges. Perhaps practical tasks are being contracted out, or maybe they are coming back in as heritage crafts with a group of community volunteers to help improve physical and mental wellbeing: you can fix the fence properly later – just go with it!  The services that are currently surviving by selling guided walks and doing children’s wildlife parties may well just have to recognise that this is a commercial means to an end at present and hope for better times, whilst keeping hold of as much good conservation and nature engagement work as they can.   We have yet to find a way to replace the tax revenue we have taken from this sector with other types of hard cash but studies and news feeds show how important and valued our countryside remains to the nation.   We don’t want to charge people to enter our parks and countryside sites either so we fall back on public support, volunteers and community engagement again – whilst lobbying for better policy and funds.   Managing people, communities and volunteers is and always has been a key skill for rangers and people are always the key to maintaining support for your countryside services.

Looking across Burbage moor (Ted Talbot, National Trust)

Looking across Burbage moor

(Ted Talbot, National Trust)


Without a national advocate in the government funding arena (it was supposed to be Natural England), we need to get smarter. It is high time to make the case to Sport England and the NHS that good access to the countryside and great path infrastructure is as important and costly as a flat football pitch, netball court or swimming pool.  Rangers were at the front of Health Walks delivery 20 years ago, and many are still going on without funding support, alongside other health related initiatives.  Locally, many countryside activity groups are realising this gap in resource, and helping out to raise funds or volunteer for countryside teams - but we need to make a stronger national case for funding access infrastructure and our staff at a basic sustainable level.


In 1986, I started as a volunteer ranger in Sheffield, alongside other unemployed students and a couple of ex-miners.   There were not many jobs then either, but we all enjoyed what we did, learned new skills and hoped for better times. The Pretenders’ song with the line ‘some things change and some stay the same’ was a hit at the time and was our anthem for a short while. I got my first job in 1989 – after the ranger I had volunteered for left having got good experience on a Manpower Services Commission scheme.  There was no gig economy then and things are different today, more competitive at entry level for sure and there are less permanent posts and not many solid apprenticeships yet - but I think an element of luck, being in the right place at the right time with the right skills, and having a good network are still key to getting a job in this sector.  Interview skills can be learnt and being resilient if you want a job as a ranger is just how it is at present. I also think that ‘sideways entry’ from an allied profession, especially gardening, farming, horticulture or forestry is equally possible these days and there is increasing overlap within many land based skills that we should all be aware of, so allied experience can be very relevant.  We should also keep learning to adapt.


Finally, I think that optimism and rangering go hand in hand, and as we enter a climate emergency our skills are needed now more than ever, the public seem to think so -  imagining we have “the best job in the world” – so let’s be ready for the next Green Revolution, try and lead it even; and if - after we have tried our very best - it does not happen, then I guarantee that ranger skills are really quite close to survival skills and will be needed in whatever brave new world we all end up in!


Royal Forestry Society's 2nd National Student Conference - 04 October - Shuttleworth College, Bedfordshire.  A full day conference, lunch and exhibitor event focused on skills, open to full, part time and recent students in the Forestry, Arb and Countryside sectors.  For more information visit https://c-js.co.uk/2lPiAzs or call RFS HQ on 01295 678588.


Created in 1969 to represent fisheries professionals across all sectors, we have 10 regional branches in the UK and Ireland. We are one of the largest providers of specialist fisheries training in the UK and have developed our own training system. We organise many events through the year, from major international symposia to small branch visits and talks.

www.ifm.org.uk info@ifm.org.uk


Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) empowers farmers and communities to work together to transform local food systems. CSAs produce good food using agroecological methods, keep waste and food miles to a minimum, are low-carbon, care for the land and build local communities. Find out more at www.communitysupportedagriculture.org.uk or email csanetworkuk@gmail.com.


Training and advice related to dragonfly identification, surveying and habitat management, for beginners to professionals. In addition, visit the BDS website of information on upcoming dragonfly-related events, news and volunteer opportunities. british-dragonflies.org.uk


logo: Rare Breeds Survival TrustConservation Grazing – the right animal in the right place at the right density


Exmoor pony at North Berwick Law feasting on gorse (Sylvia Beaumont)

Exmoor pony at North Berwick Law feasting on gorse

(Sylvia Beaumont)

“Conservation grazing” is the term given to the use of livestock to restore or maintain rare habitats, and was for many years seen by some as “not quite farming”.  The emphasis is indeed very much on the land management side, with sustainable food production and the benefits to human health and the wider environment only now gaining the recognition they deserve. In recent years, we have seen growing uptake of grazing options in agri-environment schemes and a recognition of the importance of soil and pasture management.  This has resulted in an increase in pasture-based and low-input farming methods which has blurred the lines between farming and conservation grazing, with an encouraging number of people seeing that the two are complementary and overlapping practices.


Some conservation organisations own and manage their own flocks and herds for the sole purpose of grazing, some work in partnership with graziers who provide livestock.  “Conventional” farmers may include conservation grazing animals as part of their farm enterprise under government agri-environment schemes which encourage good stewardship of the land.


Conservation habitat management broadly aims to maintain or increase biodiversity on a given site, using soil type, altitude, geology, climate and historical factors to guide the site objectives.  The equipment available to today’s conservation land manager includes a range of fast, effective machines, driven by fossil-fuels.  Although there is undoubtedly a place for these, the benefits of domestic livestock as a more sustainable alternative are increasingly being realised.


Boreray sheep conservation grazing on Orkney (Ruth Dalton)

Boreray sheep conservation grazing on Orkney (Ruth Dalton)

Impact of grazing animals

The main impacts of grazing animals are threefold: the removal of plant material through the actual grazing or browsing process; the nutrient enrichment of the soil through dunging and urination; and disturbance of the ground by trampling hooves.  Finding the right level of grazing is dependent on a host of variables, from numbers and types of animals used to weather conditions, ground conditions and historical land use.  Undergrazing can result in the dominance of a few coarse species that are usually kept in check by grazing and the growth of unwanted scrub.  Overgrazing can lead to desirable plant species being eliminated and so-called weed species increasing, often through the introduction of too many animals or the use of the wrong type of livestock. 


The different species used / sheep, cattle or ponies?

Sheep are smaller, cheaper and are generally considered easier to manage in a conservation grazing context, but they have limited habitat benefits.  Sheep are not native to Britain, having been introduced by man around 5,000 years ago.  They are highly selective grazers, with small mouths able to pick the sweetest and most nutritious plant species from a sward.  Their hooves are small and relatively light, compacting the ground.  Evolved for a mountainous environment, they can suffer from foot problems and from the effects of flies in a lowland setting.  However, appropriately managed, sheep can be useful animals, for example in heathland restoration where they can be summer grazed to reduce the expansion of scrub and promote heather growth, which they tend to eat only in winter.


Native to Britain, the ancestor of today’s domestic cattle was the aurochs, a wild horned ox that stood 2m at the shoulder and roamed a largely forested landscape.  Cattle are perhaps more useful animals than  sheep in terms of their impacts on vegetation - although they will avoid certain species, their large mouths make it harder for them to discriminate between preferred plants and less palatable ones.  Well equipped to graze longer grasses and herbs, they create a variable sward structure benefiting a host of species.  Their dung is also valuable for invertebrates and their heavy feet can break up compacted ground to provide seeding opportunities for plants.  However, if grazed on wet ground or at high densities, cattle will poach the land and create bare patches that encourage weed growth. 

Shetland cattle strip-grazing a species rich hay meadow (Ruth Dalton)

Shetland cattle strip-grazing a species rich hay

meadow (Ruth Dalton)


Native ponies are hardy and exempt from much of the regulation that accompanies the keeping of farmed livestock.  They have many of the benefits of cattle grazing when used at a similarly low stocking density and are naturally resistant to parasites and disease.  They tend to create “latrine” areas which may cause localised enrichment of the soil so they are best used on large sites or for shorter periods of time.  Like cattle, they will browse as well as graze and will not preferentially eat flowering heads of plants as sheep do. 


There is a tendency to use native breeds in conservation grazing

Before the 1950s, and the onset of the Common Agricultural Policy pushing farmers to produce maximum yields, livestock had been bred to grow and reproduce on relatively low inputs.  A lack of affordable “concentrate” feed or artificial fertilizers meant that animals had to be thrifty and hardy and these attributes work in favour of the conservation land manager.  Many of these traditional breeds are now classified as rare, so the opportunity to prove their usefulness as conservation grazers also secures their valuable genetics for future need. 


There is also increasing interest in returning land to a more natural state, encouraging the growth of scrub and a mosaic of more diverse habitats.  Large herbivores are an important part of these projects, especially cattle, ponies and pigs, which can encourage a varied sward and the seeding of previously outcompeted plants and their associated fauna.  This chimes well with a growing interest in quality food, produced in a sustainable way, for the benefit of wildlife and the environment - an exciting new chapter for conservation grazing.


For more info take a look at the Rare Breeds Survival Trust new Grazing Animals Project resources, including detailed guidance on handling systems and starting a grazing scheme www.rbst.org.uk There is also an excellent on-line conservation grazing forum – “Nibblers” – run as a GoogleGroup, if you would like to join, please email me – ruth@rbst.org.uk


The DPHT specialises in advising on using equines for conservation grazing and has sourced hundreds of hardy Dartmoor-bred Dartmoor ponies to go all over the UK into a variety of habitats.  We also offer site inspections and bespoke warden/volunteer/lookerer training. We are a charity created in 2005 to help ensure a future for the Dartmoor-bred true Native Dartmoor pony. Call 01626 833234 or email admin@dpht.co.uk for further information and advice.


We have two online self-study courses available to study in your own time at home - Habitat Management and Habitat Restoration. Written by experienced ecologists and giving you essential knowledge, examples and insights into the topics. Go to https://ecologytraining.co.uk and click on Online Courses. 

logo: Ecology Training UK (ETUK) 


logo: green halo partnershipThe Green Halo

Where nature, people and business flourish

Green Halo Partnership (New Forest National Park Authority)

Green Halo Partnership (New Forest National Park Authority)


All around the world the benefits that come from living landscapes – the ecosystem services they provide – are being measured and quantified.  Greater appreciation of these benefits to society has led to calls to make nature more prominent in decision-making and place-shaping. Last year the government put the concept of “natural capital” at the heart of the UK’s 25 Year Environment Plan. 


The value that ecosystems services delivered by landscapes such as our National Parks bring to the economy, the environment and local quality of life are being taken much more seriously.  However, protecting and enhancing that natural capital is not the job of one body. It requires shared vision and leadership. It means organisations from across the public and private sectors must work together. It depends on those organisations’ acknowledging the contribution of natural capital in their planning, budgeting and decision-making.


There are not many better examples where effective partnership working is needed than the New Forest.  It is one of Europe’s best sanctuaries for nature, situated in the busy south east of England and surrounded by urban settlements.  The natural environment beyond the National Park’s boundaries - from Cranbourne Chase to Purbeck, the South Downs to the Solent - internationally valued because of the quality of the natural environment. That natural environment is an intrinsic part of the identity of central south of England.  But the central South is also an area of high economic growth with an additional 200,000 houses anticipated to be built in the region over the next 10 years (the equivalent of two more Southamptons). And it is administered by over 20 different councils and LEPs – along with two National Parks.


Green Halo Partnership Conference delegates (New Forest National Park Authority)

Green Halo Partnership Conference delegates

(New Forest National Park Authority)

In 2016 the New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA) decided to involve many of the Park’s influential neighbours in promoting the benefits of the ecosystem services.  A conference at Ordnance Survey in July 2016 brought together businesses, NGOs and public sector organisations to develop the idea of a “Green Halo”, anchored in the New Forest National Park.  A suite of ecosystem service maps previously commissioned by the NFNPA, were presented, showing the significance of the services provided by the land in and around the National Park, particularly to the populations of the coastal towns.   These included the role of land in holding water and so preventing flooding, the potential of the land to influence water quality, and its value for recreation.  The maps reinforced the importance of the National Park as a hotspot for biodiversity but also showed the high contribution the Park makes in reducing the risk of soil erosion and sequestering carbon.


The findings of a pilot study to quantify and value the flow of ecosystem services provided by the National Park was also presented to the conference.  The study highlighted the importance of woodland which was calculated to represent 90% of the monetary flows associated with the National Park reflecting the importance of woodland as an asset for maintaining air quality, climate regulation and recreation as well as a commercial timber crop.


This fresh perspective on the natural environment encouraged the audience of local businesses, local authorities, environmental non-government organisations, health professionals, developers and others to discuss practical ways in which our environment can help us to tackle many of the challenges our society faces today: from improving public health or creating sustainable business, to making better use of renewable resources or addressing atmospheric pollution and climate change.


That led to formation of a cross-sector steering group to develop a collective response to the challenge of protecting and enhancing our natural capital.  The steering group and its discussions with other potential partners have revealed there is widespread recognition of the benefits of a healthy environment.


The Green Halo Partnership now has over 70 members and is open to all public, private and third sector organisations which are ready and willing to commit time, energy and resources to protecting and enhancing natural capital in and around the National Park. There is no geographic limit to membership.


Membership comes at no cost, but those joining acknowledge their responsibilities to our environment by signing up to the vision of the Partnership: to be a global exemplar of how our most precious landscapes can work in harmony with a thriving, economically successful community.

Green Halo Partnership webpage (New Forest National Park Authority)

Green Halo Partnership webpage

(New Forest National Park Authority)


The Green Halo is an aspiration: to make protecting our natural world part and parcel of planning for our future. As such it has received the endorsement of Professor Dieter Helm who described it as “one of the great natural capital projects”.   The Partnership aims to:


  • explore innovative projects and ideas about how we can protect and enhance our natural capital
  • encourage its members to collaborate on projects and programmes which protect and enhance natural capital
  • promote practical projects and actions
  • help to obtain funding to support collaborative projects
  • support research and innovation on natural capital and ecosystem services


Put simply, we wanted to turn the national discussions on the theory of natural capital into local practical action. As public policy develops, so we hope to harness this fresh approach to make the case for protecting and enhancing our valued natural environment across the central South. The Green Halo Partnership is proving a successful networking and influencing group; shaping the content of the Local Industrial Plans of the four Local Enterprise Partnerships and plans to redevelop the local marine and maritime economy. 


Paul Walton

Head of Environment and Rural Economy, New Forest National Park


Website https://www.greenhalo.org.uk/


We sell plants and seeds sourced from British growers and harvesters. We sell woodland trees, hedging and hedge plants, wildflowers, garden "trees for bees", pond plants, heritage fruit tree varieties, wildflower seed and bulbs. We also make donations to small science based UK conservation charities. www.habitataid.co.uk


The UK's only specialist in minimising adverse impacts on wildlife, livestock and other access users arising from dog walking, while also supporting the human and canine health benefits of dog ownership. Clients include Natural England, Forestry Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage, national parks, wildlife charities and private landowners.  08456 439435 steve@sjacm.co.uk


A registered charity dedicated to improving broadleaved trees by selective breeding, to improve their disease resilience, growth rate, form, CO2 sequestration and timber yield. Making trees more economically viable (they'll live longer and produce more timber) means more people will plant them! www.futuretrees.org or call CEO Tim Rowland on 07896 834518


Scottish Botanists' Conference on 2 November 2019 with Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland, BSS & RBGE at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. A great mix of botanical talks, ID workshops, exhibits & posters. Our main speaker is Professor Robert Crawford, who will give a talk on “Plants at the Margin in a Changing Climate”. 0791 7152580, jim.mcintosh@bsbi.org https://c-js.co.uk/2ke9mMI


logo: Rewilding BritainFit for the Future


When I joined Rewilding Britain as Director in Jan 2017 after 34 years in public service, having started as the first Conservation Officer for the Thames Water Authority and finishing as the EA’s national Head of Conservation, I knew I was embarking on a really exciting new chapter in my career, but I had no idea just how rapidly the interest in rewilding was about to escalate. I put this down to the perfect storm of:

Birding at Ynys Hir (Ben Porter)

Birding at Ynys Hir (Ben Porter)

I.    societal realisation that we really do have both a climate emergency and a biodiversity emergency - not the same, but connected in many ways

II.    the government’s commitment to a move away from basic payments for farmers to the public money for public goods approach

III.    the publication of the superb “Wilding” by my good friend Isabella Tree which tells the inspirational story of the Knepp rewilding project and

IV.    the increasing influence of Rewilding Britain - or so I am told!


Rewilding Britain itself is actually a tiny organisation with just a handful of staff and a few supporting specialists. We were founded about 5 years ago, inspired by George Monbiot’s seminal publication “Feral” and set up by Rebecca Wrigley and Hannah Scrase. Rebecca is now our CEO, I act as Director. There's also a team led by Project Director Melanie Newton, running the on-the-ground project Summit to Sea in mid-west Wales on behalf of the ten partner organisations involved. It is our intention to remain small and agile and to act as a catalyst for “mainstreaming” rewilding. I always say our measure of success should be to do ourselves out of a job – i.e. to get us to the point where all eNGOs, government agencies and landowners etc. “get” rewilding to such an extent that our 1 million hectares in Britain target has been achieved. That’s approx 5% of Britain, but we’re a long way off that yet with less than 1% rewilding so far, so I and my colleagues have still got plenty of work to do!


RSPB Dove Stone Nature Reserve (Rewilding Britain)

No-one owns the term “rewilding” and you’ll see many definitions out there, but we at Rewilding Britain summarise it as "The large scale restoration of ecosystems to the point where nature is allowed to take care of itself".  I should emphasise here that rewilding is a long-term process – and will involve a spectrum of activity from, for example, my tiny garden wildlife pond through to 100,000 ha blocks of completely unmanaged countryside - which of course we don’t yet have in the UK. In other words it is an activity to which we can all contribute, but we must be bold enough to move along that spectrum significantly further than we have yet done, both in terms of scale and in terms of reduction in management. In mainland Britain to do this effectively, we believe we need to rewild blocks of at least 10,000 ha in England and Wales and 100,000 ha in Scotland.


Having said that, the definition alone is not enough to understand exactly what rewilding is and how it can work. The principles are equally important and as far as Rewilding Britain is concerned these are as follows:

I.    People communities and livelihoods are key

II.    Natural processes drive outcomes

III.    Working at nature’s scale is essential

IV.    Benefits are secured for the long term

Looking at lichen (Ben Porter)

Looking at lichen (Ben Porter)


Above all, we believe that there doesn't need to be an "either / or" choice between rural culture and livelihoods and nature's wellbeing. With new approaches and support from government it should be possible to restore nature and give people who rely on the land for their livelihoods new avenues of opportunity.


We are now pursuing a mix of rewilding initiatives from really large scale 50,000-100,000 ha vision areas, mainly in the uplands, within which there will be core areas of rewilding, buffered by large areas of sustainable farming, and at the other end of the spectrum, large estates or “farm clusters” where part of the land is given over to rewilding (usually over an area of 500-2000 ha) - broadly similar to that at Knepp. We are now seeking to develop the large-scale vision initiatives in the Peak District and Northumbria and we are partners in two similar projects in the Renfrewshire Hills and Southern Uplands in Scotland. As for the estate-scale initiatives, well the list is growing on a weekly basis. Two years ago we were seeking ways in to speak to potentially supportive landowners and now we can’t keep up with the demand. A nice problem to have!

RSPB Dove Stone Nature Reserve (Rewilding Britain)


I have worked in UK conservation for 40 years now and I know many eNGOs, landowners and government agencies have done amazing work to conserve our natural heritage for many decades, and goodness knows what state our biodiversity would be in if they hadn’t, but the simple harsh truth is that traditional nature reserve and protected site conservation on its own is not enough to reverse the decline in biodiversity. We need something significantly larger in scale and less intensive in management, to sit alongside the ongoing conservation of our nature reserve hotspots. That something is, in my view, “rewilding” but in a crowded country like ours, it needs people to make it happen.


And so for all those considering a career in environmental conservation or moving around within the sector, these are very exciting times. As I say, rewilding is gathering momentum fast now and a growing number of landowners are going to need expert help and advice. Yes, policy needs to catch up with reality – and that is something I am working on – but we also need experts out there to get on and help to make it happen – and indeed to make sure that rewilding doesn’t end up just being traditional nature conservation. So my advice to those who are interested is: if you haven’t already, read books like Feral, Wilding and Rebirding and get out there and visit places like Knepp, Ennerdale, RSPB Haweswater, Dove Stone, Eastern Moors, Alladale etc. This planet needs people like you and it needs you right now, if it is to be fit for the future.


Find out more at www.rewildingbritain.org.uk

Prof Alastair Driver

Director, Rewilding Britain


The RSPB Habitat Management Handbooks have been a popular read among land managers over the years. It’s been a while since any new titles have been published or old titles revised but those that remain in stock (accepting some content such as grant schemes that have changed) are still current in terms of management and invaluable for college / university courses. There are no immediate plans to revise the books, but they are selling at just £5 each (plus postage and packaging) while stocks last. For more information, visit: https://rspb-discounted-handbooks or email conservation-advice@rspb.org.uk 



Changes to Local Authority management – opinion piece


At my interview, I had enquired about funding for the post (and department), and was advised that it was adequately funded by the Local Authority.  Little was I to know what was on the horizon.


On taking up my post (as part of a team of 5 f/t staff) for a city local authority some 20 years ago, I was contracted to work 2 weekends in 4, and Bank Holidays, for which I would receive enhanced pay (to balance the antisocial hours).  Overtime was also payable at the discretion of the manager, so high intensity tasks – e.g. haymaking, would be carried out whenever the weather was suitable, so didn’t have to be fitted in around the ‘working week’.  Not only did the department manage around 170 Ha of open countryside (spread over 2 main and 3 smaller sites around the city), but we also managed a City Farm in a deprived area of the city, and a spin off Rare-Breeds farm on our main site. Part of my weekend function was management of the livestock at weekends.  The manager was also keen on attending agricultural shows to raise the profile of the farms (as a public attraction) so it was not unusual for staff to be called upon to help transport livestock to and from the shows, and to man the stand there. Within my first year, the ‘Grounds Maintenance’ Ranger took early retirement, and we recruited a less specific ranger with more of a conservation background.


Other than ‘our’ sites, the urban parks and open spaces were maintained by a City Services organisation (also part of the authority). City Services also serviced and repaired our plant and machinery, provided tree surgery, fabrication and welding services, and supplied fuel (all effectively at cost price). 


It was quite obvious that the countryside sites had had limited management for some years (almost to the point of neglect), with the funding and labour resource being demanded by, or diverted into, the livestock and farms, although we had started building a conservation grazing herd of cattle.  This became immensely frustrating to the ‘conservation’ staff, as we never really managed to get stuck in to larger projects, despite committing to them under Countryside Stewardship funding that we had been awarded.  I was also concerned that at some point the funding would be reclaimed as the proposed projects were not really completed as planned. 


When the cuts in LA funding started to bite (10 years ago or more?), the authority decided to outsource the City Services function, but our requirements weren’t factored in, so suddenly we had to pay commercial rates for machinery maintenance – it was also not easy (and time consuming) procuring suppliers that were willing or able to carry out the lost services.  Similarly, fuel costs went up, and obtaining red diesel was more time consuming.


As the cuts bit deeper, outsourcing our function to the service provider was considered, as part of which we developed a detailed report of basic functions.  Based on the cost of our path management alone (some 30km all in!), it rapidly became apparent that the service provider would be more expensive.  In addition, we contended that their operatives didn’t have the expertise to manage nature conservation sites (could they identify rarer plants while mowing?), and that we could get Stewardship, and agricultural grants (haymaking and livestock), which they couldn’t.  Our ‘Friends of’ group, which had previously campaigned successfully against City Services management of the main site under CCT (Compulsory Competitive Tendering), made representations to Councillors, who decided that they didn’t want to lose the public goodwill gained from the sites.  I understand that various NGOs were approached, but there were no worthwhile income streams to make it attractive.


The next round of belt tightening saw the loss of weekend enhancements and overtime – so although we committed to maintaining weekend cover, there was no incentive to provide more than basic cover for Bank Holidays (Easter always being particularly challenging for lone-working). Working long days for haymaking, suddenly became very unattractive.  Although Time off in Lieu was given, taking it was difficult, as it meant that other work was not completed – so effectively we had less time available to complete the required work programme.


At this time (or shortly afterwards) the Councillors decided that the farms would be closed, and our manager would be made redundant.  The farmhouse (our office), and yard would be sold for housing, and we would relocate.  To this day, I don’t understand the rationale for this, as the value of the site has to have been less than the cost of relocation, as well as making the operation less efficient through the storage of materials and equipment off site.  We also had cuts to our budget, so our grants are now used to plug that hole (effectively paying one salary) rather than the luxury of providing ‘over and above’ for the operation.


Although we have lost the attraction of the farms, which undeniably brought in visitors, the amount of time we have gained through not having to feed, foot-trim, dag (and lamb) some 50+ sheep, as well as pigs, and goats, has given us more time to carry out countryside and habitat management.  We have brought more (neglected) land back into restoration, and regular management.  We also have more time to run work parties with our various Friends groups, so making further progress towards our aims.  Indeed, from complaints every time we cut a small tree 20 years ago, we now find that we have significant support for the meadow restoration, and woodland management we are now undertaking on a regular basis.


Burleys, The Royal Warrant holding grounds maintenance specialist has become one of the few contractors nationwide to use an award-winning system, Foamstream, on a commercial basis for Lewes District Council.  The system uses a combination of hot water and foam to ‘cook’ weeds on contact. The thermal energy penetrates the weeds’ waxy outer leaf layer, rupturing the cells, killing them quickly. Some die within minutes, with others taking a day or two. A second application can eliminate taproots. It also sterilises seeds and spores – helping to reduce future weed growth.

The organic, biodegradable foam mixture is safe to use on sensitive sites such as nature reserves, heritage buildings, watercourses, children’s playgrounds and is made from a blend of natural plant oils and sugars including maize, wheat, potatoes, olive and coconut oils.


image: Burleys 


We offer a range of services including habitat creation, moorland restoration and maintenance, and invasive species control.  We cater for a wide range of land management needs ranging from large multi-site projects to smaller individual pieces of work.  For further information and to contact us; www.wildscapes.co.uk


Ecological Land Management Ltd, based in N.E. Wales, provides a range of practical services: wildlife protection fencing, woodland work, pond creation & management, non-native invasive species control, scrub & meadow management, and movement of flora & fauna. We specialise in working in protected habitats. Contact: admin@elm.uk.net or visit: www.elm.uk.net


Nature Conservation Contracting Company. Established 1992. Please visit www.green-mantle.co.uk/services for a comprehensive list of what we offer, and indeed, further information regarding the ethical dimensions which cover every aspect of our work. South-West England.


Woodland management and conservation, making small woodlands work economically, coppicing, tree surgery & felling, living willow, basketry and willow husbandry, continuous weave fencing, hurdles and all kinds of green woodwork. Courses in willow work, hurdle making, hedgelaying, fruit tree management, charcoal making and green woodwork. www.underwoodsman.co.uk 07788 748618


Traditional hedgelayers (South of England style and Midland Bullock style).  Coppice management. Woodland management. Based in Hampshire call Adam 07922 170034


logo: Cheshire East CouncilA day in the life of a Countryside Ranger


Cheshire East Council’s Countryside Ranger Service manages a suite of parks, trails and open spaces on behalf of the Council and its partners.


Interpretive display Dane in Shaw Pasture SSSI (Cheshire East Council Countryside Ranger Service)

Interpretive display Dane in Shaw Pasture SSSI

(Cheshire East Council Countryside Ranger Service)

At the forefront of the Ranger Service are 12 Countryside Rangers operating in two teams, each supported by a Countryside Officer. Their roles are as diverse as the land that they look after, from upland parks on the edge of the Peak District through to urban fringe greenways on the outskirts of south Manchester. Working alongside the Countryside Rangers are an array of volunteers, including work experience students, retired enthusiasts and mental health support groups.


Carolyn Sherratt works within the southern Ranger team, responsible for the management of a number of sites in the countryside around Congleton. No two days are ever the same; however the following is an account of what might happen on a ‘typical’ early autumn day..........


Cal starts her day with a site check of Dane in Shaw Pasture SSSI. The previous weekend had been unseasonably warm and past experience would suggest that, while the vast majority of visitors respect the facilities on their doorstep, there is still a minority causing a disproportionately amount of extra work.


Contractor negotiation Biddulph Valley Way (Cheshire East Council Countryside Ranger Service)

Contractor negotiation Biddulph Valley Way

(Cheshire East Council Countryside Ranger Service)

Fortunately today is not as bad as she had feared – only minimal litter plus the remnants of a small fire to deal with. It is important to address these problems as soon as possible as this site (Cheshire’s only Coronation Meadow) is home to a seasonal herd of conservation cattle. Cal takes the opportunity for a quick head count and visual health check of the cattle, texting her findings through to the local farmer.


Then it is back to the Landrover, which is parked on the adjacent Biddulph Valley Way (BVW) – a disused railway recreational trail linking Congleton with Stoke on Trent. The BVW is also the route for a gas mains pipe which runs alongside. Detailed negotiations have been ongoing over recent days with contractors, who need access to the trail to deal with a suspected gas leak.


Whilst such works are an obvious priority, Cal needs to ensure that the contractors are clear about the environmental sensitivity of the site and the importance of both ensuring public safety and maintaining visitor access.


Agreement is eventually reached for the trail to remain open whilst works are in progress and for additional signage to be posted advising visitors of potential delays. A quick call to the local Sustrans representative reassures him that potential diversions will not adversely affect this national cycle route.

Step construction Biddulph Valley Way

(Cheshire East Council Countryside Ranger Service)


Cal is then joined by one of the team’s long-standing regular volunteers, Karl, whose experience enables Cal to fast-track some of the minor repair and maintenance tasks that are an ongoing part of keeping her sites at a high standard. Their first task is to replace a couple of worn steps that lead from the trail on to adjacent public footpaths.


Encouraging visitors to explore the wider countryside is an inherent part of her role and, as the task progresses, a group of ramblers stop to comment on their work. Their conversation soon gravitates to include the recurring theme of dogs in the countryside. As a dog owner herself, Cal is able to talk confidently about the responsibilities and expectations that both the Council and local farmers will have of dog owners and of the various promotional activities that she has been involved with to encourage appropriate behaviours. With the ramblers on their way Cal and Karl are able to finish off the step renovations, before stopping for a well-earned lunch break.


The afternoon has been earmarked for commencing the winter’s conservation tasks; starting a first phase of re-coppicing alongside the BVW. Having undertaken similar work for many years, the wildlife benefits have been remarkable.


With Karl helping as a second trained chainsaw operator, a small area of hazel is soon cleared. The coupe is next to a small pond, dug out some years to support the local great crested newt population. As a licensed ‘handler’, Cal had surveyed this pond earlier in the year and while she had found evidence of newts it was also obvious that this particular pond was getting regularly disturbed, probably by dogs jumping in – a problem now easily resolved with their cuttings used to create an effective dead hedge around the exposed pond perimeter.


Visitor engagement Dane in Shaw Pasture SSSI (Cheshire East Council Countryside Ranger Service)

Visitor engagement Dane in Shaw Pasture SSSI

(Cheshire East Council Countryside Ranger Service)

Chainsaws cleaned and sharpened, there is just one last task to complete on site. Cal has organised a guided walk to be held the following week, part of which will utilise the BVW and neighbouring Macclesfield Canal. The full route will be checked another day but this section of the walk is always a useful point to explain to participants about the history, management and challenges of managing the local landscape.


It’s also a great spot to share her knowledge about the local flora and fauna and Cal takes the opportunity to identify suitable trees, nuts, berries and fungi, which she’ll be able to show to people on the walk.


Last job for the day is of a more sedate nature as Cal calls into her office to deal with the many emails and telephone messages; an assortment relating to site management, general public enquiries, plus ongoing administration. There’s just time to update the management plan records to incorporate the work she’s completed today and to check the diary to see what the rest of the week holds – an ever evolving assortment of work that needs to be planned and implemented.


Matthew Axford

Countryside Ranger, Cheshire East Council


The UK’s Local Environmental Records Centres provide data services to those making countryside land management decisions for biodiversity.  They can also provide volunteering opportunities for people wanting to gain experience in data management, digital cartography and much more.  Visit www.alerc.org.uk for more information.


Join the community woodland network for Wales as an Associate Member to receive news, advice and opinion and details of events, activities and training across Wales. We empower people to manage woodlands for the benefit of their communities. Contact: info@llaisygoedwig.org.uk 01654 700061 website: llaisygoedwig.org.uk


logo: CLAChanging nature of fly-tipping


Country Land and Business Association (CLA) President Tim Breitmeyer on the rise of criminal scale fly-tipping.


Those working in the countryside will be all too aware of anti-social behaviour such as fly-tipping. In the last year of recorded statistics there were more than one million reported incidents across the country. Affecting nearly two-thirds of landowners every year, it’s a crime which has a huge detrimental impact across rural communities.


Image: CLA

Image: CLA

Our members are tired of not only clearing up other people’s rubbish, but paying for the privilege of doing so. Estimates suggest it costs on average £1,000 to clean up each incident. With many farmers suffering multiple and repeated incidents this can affect the bottom line. However, more than that, in a job where long hours are the norm, adds an additional unnecessary stress and workload.


Over the years at the CLA we have supported our members and rural communities. Our regional offices have spearheaded local campaigns while at a national level we’ve raised the issue through the media. Local authorities, MPs from all parties and rural police forces have also played their part in these campaigns and sentences have been toughened. However, this collective action clearly hasn’t been enough – last year the total number of incidents were broadly static, down 1% year-on-year.


So despite this action why are fly-tipping figures stubbornly holding? To my mind the ill-thought through introduction of charges to remove waste at a council level has cancelled any gains which could have been made.


Image: CLA

Image: CLA

The total cost of clean-up for fly-tipping is estimated to be between £86 million and £186 million a year with most of this falling on the shoulders of landowners and farmers. Local authorities are estimated to have only spent £12.2 million on clean-up over the same period. It’s probably still too early to see how much they are raising from fees for the disposal of waste, but I would argue that this figure will pale in comparison to the total cost to society for clean-up.


In response to the introduction of fees, we’re seeing the emergence of organised criminal fly-tipping activity. One of the most high-profile recent prosecutions was over three fly-tippers who deposited 40 individual van loads on a single site near Havant in Hampshire. All of them were paid by businesses and members of the public to disposal of rubbish legally, but the waste was instead dumped at this site. The total clean-up cost for the mess was £100,000. The most recent figures show that multi-load fly-tipping incidents of this nature were up 43% year-on-year.


Many will hold the traditional view that fly-tipping is predominately small scale and opportunistic, but in my opinion we’re in fact seeing the opposite emerge. It’s vital that rural police forces recognise the changing nature of this crime and respond accordingly. This is now organised, repeated and on a large scale. I hope that next year’s Independent Police Commissioner elections will see rural crime rise up the policing agenda, with discussions around the changing nature of fly-tipping at its core.


Image: CLA

Image: CLA

However, we should not lay all the blame at the police’s door. More important is ensuring there is a broad coalition of rural stakeholders backing a common sense approach towards waste. We need to pressurise local authorities to think in a joined up manner – increasing fees at local rubbish tips and recycling centres will only impact on fly-tipping levels locally and the costs associated for its clean-up.


Finally, we would like to see some changes to the law. At the moment landowners are legally liable when waste is fly-tipped on their land which hinders clean-up and ensures the true levels of the crime remains under-reported. This should also be coupled with financial and logistical support for victims to clean up waste which, after all, has nothing to do with them.


Like other forms of rural crime, fly-tipping is a complex problem with no silver bullet. Local authorities, politicians and police forces all like to talk tough on this issue, but until these words are matched with a common sensical and joined up approach on waste, we’re likely to continue to face an uphill struggle.


The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) which represents around 30,000 rural businesses across England and Wales. Find out more at www.cla.org.uk


Botany and Ecology for nature conservation in the North East/West.  We provide support in ecological surveying, give management advice and deliver training courses. We believe in giving back and sharing all the experience that we have gained through our professional career. Contact: 07875 544635 or julia@verde-ecologyconsultancy.com www.verde-ecologyconsultancy.com   logo: Verde Ecology 


logo: Cornwall Wildlife TrustDesignated Sites – A site Managers Perspective


Cornwall Wildlife Trust recently went through the process of having some of our land designated as a SSSI. Here is our perspective as a nature conservation charity. 


Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT) is one of 46 Wildlife Trusts in the UK, each operating as independent charities and collectively as The Wildlife Trust movement.  We are responsible for the management of 58 Nature Reserves in the county, ranging from sand dunes, woodlands, heathland, fen, reed bed and our very own island. 


Marsh Fritillary nectaring on Helman Tor Nature Reserve (Ben Watkins)

Marsh Fritillary nectaring on Helman Tor

Nature Reserve (Ben Watkins)

In common with most Wildlife Trusts many of these sites have statutory designations such as Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Scheduled Monuments (SM).  Many of the other reserves are non-statutory designated sites, in our case County Wildlife Sites.  Most other counties have equivalent non-statutory designations, which must be considered in planning but are otherwise unprotected.


In 2017 the Mid Cornwall Moors SSSI was notified.  This amalgamated numerous existing individual SSSI’s including three sites owned by CWT, removed some land from SSSI status and added more land parcels – increasing overall land covered by SSSI by two square miles.  The Lawton approach – bigger, better, more joined up – was embodied in this landscape scale designation.  The Mid Cornwall Moors landscape would now be thought of as a whole, rather than pockets of good habitat in isolation.  The marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia), a significant species in the area, was one of the drivers for this approach as it requires a network of suitable sites to function as a meta-population, allowing for extinction from, and re-population of sites.  The designation was a very long process.  We were involved in discussions and were consultees, but the designation happened as for any other landowner; had we any concerns they would have been considered, but we supported the designation and we didn’t have any.


For CWT there was some change.  Several sites formerly designated County Wildlife Sites were now SSSI; also, the citation for whole SSSI changed.  There were a lot of common elements with the previous individual SSSI citations, but overall the key features were re-considered, re surveyed in some instances and updated – for the first time since 1986.


On considering how it is different managing a site which is now SSSI, there are pros and cons.



  • Being a SSSI guarantees that whilst SSSI’s exist in their current form the sites will always be prioritised for any funding available.  The current mechanism for this is through the Countryside Stewardship scheme, under the Higher Tier.  This provides land area based payments according to the relevant options, supplements for activities like cattle grazing and capital payments for the installation and replacement of fences, for example.  It’s fair to say we have received higher payments for the management of our SSSI’s than under the previous Reserves Enhancement Scheme.
  • In the Mid Cornwall Moors area, the citation is now up to date and fit for purpose.  In some cases on the previous individual SSSIs we were trying to achieve targets which were no longer relevant.  The new citations should help us to have clearer, more achievable aims.  It can be the case that despite all your hard work and ‘doing the right thing’ a SSSI can still be poorly performing against criteria derived from the citation.  Natural England’s (NE) Biodiversity 2020 target is to have 95% of SSSI’s in Favourable or Recovering status by 2020 - this been a strong driver to get sites into agri-environment schemes and means that NE will target SSSIs for support.
  • Owning or managing a SSSI does, in theory, mean that management advice and support from NE should be readily available.  Where getting it right can be difficult this can be a valuable resource.
  • SSSI’s are protected from development or activities causing harm and come with a list of activities requiring NE consent.  In practice our sites are nature reserves anyway so there are unlikely to be conflicts between our activities and NE’s requirements.   An example however is when Red Moor, a site designated in the 1980’s (and now part of the new SSSI) was going through the progress of designation, neighbouring landowners wanted to drain land to prevent the designation.  After designation this became an offence with the potential for unlimited fines.  However, media has now reported ‘lawlessness’ in the countryside because government agencies are so stretched that they can’t afford to prosecute – see below.



  • A SSSI site could be failing on a condition assessment which is potentially not good PR for a wildlife trust.  Having said that, a failing SSSI would be first in line for additional resources if they were required to turn it around!
  • Being a SSSI can be a barrier to even well intentioned projects leading to additional paperwork and staff time.  For example, on one of the newly designated sites we want to put down chippings in the entrance to a stock pen to prevent vehicles getting stuck.  Now as an  SSSI it will need consent which, in all likelihood, we will get but rather than just getting in a load of 803, we haven’t got around to it yet as we need the time to fill in the forms.
  • The current Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme is unwieldy and hard to work with.  The RPA are now responsible for administering the schemes and they take a very black and white inflexible approach.  In the past there was a human interface with NE staff, where judgement and an understanding of the general direction of travel were applied to support our work.  Now this has gone, once the agreement is signed off after development with an NE officer there is no space for interpretation or discretion.  This presents an organisation like ours, or a landowner trying to do the right thing with a much higher risk of clawback and fines.  The inflexibility can also lead to withdrawal of funds.  On a recent scheme involving 6500m of fencing, an oversight meant that 450m of this should have been stock netting not three strands of barb, as the rest of it was.  On such a big agreement this was missed at the time – there is no option to change it, claim it and make up the shortfall or any other way of getting what the site needs.  The money is lost and the work is not done.
  • One criticism of SSSI’s is that there are no penalties for inaction, so a SSSI can slip into unfavourable condition through inaction with no comeback on the landowner.


Helman Tor Nature Reserve - part of the Mid Cornwall Moors SSSI (Ben Watkins)

Helman Tor Nature Reserve - part of the Mid Cornwall Moors SSSI

(Ben Watkins)

As a general discussion of these points: Where sites are SSSI’s, in the past we have built close working relationships with NE staff.  You would know who the relevant staff member was for a particular site, and they would know the sites and what you were trying to achieve.   It is currently hard to identify who is responsible for which site and difficult to get advice and support.  Colleagues at NE are having a hard time because of endless cuts to their budget meaning they have to make difficult choices.  These cuts are a political decision seemingly at odds with the words coming from the politicians.  In general support for management varies, CWT are probably allowed to get on with it as our aims align with NE’s and those of the SSSI citation.  It is hard to imagine how this works out with a private landowner of a SSSI without a specialist interest in conservation of habitats and species.  I imagine it could devalue the property, though it would mean that funding for its management was available.  The landowner would also have the additional paperwork burden without the luxury of staff time to fill it in.  However, as a conservationist, I would support the continual imposition of SSSI’s as if it were only carried out with full consent of all parties, much of our most prized habitat would remain unprotected.


In conclusion, the CS / NE / SSSI / RPA relationship is convoluted and can be difficult to work with – but it is our main source of funding so we have to get on with it.  SSSI’s could become the highest designation in the land once Brexit settles in as the SAC designation may no longer be applicable.  The outlook for nature conservation in England will be, to a large extent, guided by the contents of the Agriculture and Environment Bills, and the success of Nature Recovery Networks.  SSSI’s would surely form the backbone of these networks, and it would be unthinkable for a government to undermine their protection in law, but the unthinkable does seem to make a habit of happening, so it’s good to have many SSSI’s in the safe hands of The Wildlife Trusts.




Seán O’Hea, Deputy Head of Nature Reserves

Cornwall Wildlife Trust


Groundwork Training is passionate about providing top quality and cost effective training.  We deliver convenient, accredited, high quality training tailored to your needs delivered at our training centre or at your premises.  Outdoor First Aid and Forestry First Aid +F course available contact 01978 757524 / training@groundworknorthwales.org.uk


Bridgwater & Taunton College offer a range of land-based education at the Cannington Campus, which consists of 500 acres of dedicated resource for Countryside Management, Horticulture, Arboriculture and Agriculture curriculums. We offer a range of courses including full and part-time study, apprenticeships and short courses including chainsaw, brushcutter and pesticides. www.btc.ac.uk


A secluded woodland providing workshops and study days for young people not currently in mainstream education with a focus on conservation, biodiversity and good practice in the management of land as a working environment. Coppicing, greenwood furniture, campfire cooking. More information at www.wrongscovert.com or call 07748 870907


PgCert/PgDip/MSc in Geographic Information Systems at Ulster University

We offer a fully online distance learning Masters-level programme in GIS. With over 20 years’ experience in teaching GIS and 15 years via e-learning, we have a significant track record in GIS education and receive excellent feedback from both students and employers. https://c-js.info/2rroRDv s.cook@ulster.ac.uk


Derbyshire Eco Centre offers courses in landscape management, ecology and heritage building skills. This year we are delivering Dry Stone Walling Lantra qualifications plus informal woodland management courses. See our brochure at

www.derbyshire.gov.uk/ecocentre. For more information or to book a course, ring us on 01629 533038 or email ecocentre@derbyshire.gov.uk.


Forest School and Outdoor Learning training, Level 1/2/3. High quality accredited training, Trainer of the Year Award 2018. Beautiful location in the National Forest. Also range of bushcraft, practical skills and outdoor first aid training, get in touch for a full list. Contact kate@holmsdalemanor.co.uk for dates and details, or call 01530 262434 / 07775 857222.


logo: SRUCThe resurgence of traditional countryside management methods, reasons and benefits



The landscape of today is very different to that of the recent past. Bags of black-polythene silage are commonplace across the farms in the spring. This was not always the case, haystacks and haylofts were once widespread. Unlike silage, the hay cutting regime takes place in the autumn, thus allowing plants to set seed, ensuring a new crop, with wild flowers, for the next season. Ground-nesting birds are also able to fledge their young before the thresher reaches them.


Learning to use the scythe  © C. Smillie 2018

Learning to use the scythe  

© C. Smillie 2018

Use of the traditional scythe to cut the hay avoids compaction of soils by heavy machinery, which could also be alleviated by strimmers, but these use fuel, sending greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.


Conservation grazing

To promote wildflower grasslands, wetlands, moorland and coastal grasslands, some manner of vegetation removal is required.

Conservation grazing has been utilised in recent years, such as the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s mobile ‘flying flock’ of sheep.


Grazing animals do not begin at point A and chew the vegetation down until reaching point Z. Quite what they will graze depends on a number of aspects; for example, which plants you actually want chomped depends on what animal finds them palatable. So, when sheep were introduced to Traprain Law in East Lothian, they head to the succulent grass at the hilltop, leaving the tough rank species that were causing the problem. Enter the ponies!


Food palatability is not the only aspect that drives movement and grazing behaviour. Animals also require drinking water, shelter and shade. Although many may emphasize the environmental part of agri-environment, such as keeping woodland copses and protecting hedgerows, these also serve to nurture livestock for agricultural benefit.


Even with the right species and ancillary features, your livestock may still not graze where you desire. This can be remedied by the ancient practice of (conservation) shepherding. Rather than letting loose the organic lawnmowers, this time the shepherd uses his crook and dog to direct the sheep towards certain areas of the site and away from the more sensitive.


Ponies grazing on Traprain Law © C. Smillie 2017

Ponies grazing on Traprain Law © C. Smillie 2017

Nature and Farming

Pesticides have been a health concern for some time prompting many consumers to switch to organic food. Pesticides also have environmental effects. Killing off bugs indiscriminately gets rid of predators, such as ladybirds, if you are not careful. And when the pests return, there is inevitably a lag for the predators to return, resulting in even heavier damage.  As an example, the boll weevil was a major pest of cotton; when this was sprayed off, it was found that it was actually keeping down another three pests. Double the dosage and these disappear but five more pests appeared. This continued until unsustainable amounts of pesticide were required.


The answer, then, is to increase areas for predators. Forward-thinking agriculturalists have tried to use nature by providing small areas for these beneficial organisms in the shape of beetle banks (in reality, spider-dominated) and conservation headlands. However, we can go further by invoking the past and using minimum-till systems. Just like the landscapes of old, we can have a return to the arable weeds hosting breeding grounds for birds, moths and other predators.


Constructing a willowweave fence © C. Smillie 2019

Constructing a willowweave fence © C. Smillie 2019

Minimum-till has added soil benefits too. Regular turning of soil destroys structure so important for soil moisture penetration, as well as promoting microbes to release greenhouse gases. Nutrients are also released, whilst erosion has been deemed as a factor for the UK government to suggest there are only around 30 years left of harvest without conservation. By keeping the soil intact, structure remains, as well as giving a home for agricultural predators. Not only do we keep the nutrients within the soil but by intercropping leguminous plants, we can actually add in extra nitrogen for less effort.



One aspect is to consider why people undertake voluntary conservation. For some it may be to gain skills to enter the job market. For others, it’s a long-term commitment. It would seem apparent then that the more someone works in voluntary conservation, the more connected they became with nature. Research at SRUC by McCallum (2018) says the opposite. A desire to help wildlife may bring volunteers in but what keeps them is the sense of community. Compare the isolation of strimming in a helmet with ear-protection against building a hedgerow as part of a team. Far more rewarding.


Cultural heritage and health

It may seem as though the UK sees less importance in natural capital. Actually, conservation is becoming more valued, if not better funded. The Scottish government has set green targets to promote health and well-being. Local authorities have a duty to encourage understanding of the environment through recreation, such as green gyms. Using traditional duties, such as coppicing, willow-weaving and creating hedgerows, participants are able to understand their place in our landscape. Communities can appreciate cultural heritage by recognising that bogs and machair are there, not through simple abiotic processes, but because they are following in the footsteps of their ancestors.

By linking to our past, we can invoke techniques that protect our countryside, whilst enhancing our connection with history and creating a community for our volunteers.


Dr Chris Smillie: Programme Leader: MSc Countryside Management

Email: chris.smillie@sruc.ac.uk

Website: www.sruc.ac.uk


Wide range of day and residential courses covering all aspects of the natural world including habitat management. Expert tuition and a choice of UK centres. Details via www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory or call 01743 852100.


Nature Course: 1 day Hedge Laying at Blue House Farm Nature Reserve, Essex Wildlife Trust, on the 12 October.

For more information, please see our website: https://c-js.co.uk/2mhjkhf


Lowe Maintenance in Settle North Yorkshire offer high-quality courses at affordable prices within Forestry and Landbased sectors, covering: Arboriculture and Forestry Chainsaw related qualifications; Pesticides; ATV’s; Brushcutter; Hedge-cutter; Leaf blower; Chipper; ROLO; Rat poison; Aluminium Phosphides; refresher units. Leading to recognised qualifications (e.g. City and Guilds). info@lowe-maintenance.co.uk 01729 25132  www.lowe-maintenance.co.uk 

logo: Lowe Maintenance


15th & 16th October Bat Mitigation: Principles & Designs - A comprehensive course over 2 days for all ecologists involved in bat mitigation. Learn how to characterise bat roosts in order to design effective mitigation for all bat species. Location in Lancashire, Cost £250+VAT, email info@ecologyservice.co.uk Also 28th and 29th April 2020


PgDip/MSc Environmental Management at Ulster University. This course has been taught for 18 years by a leading provider of distance learning in the UK. This part-time course is offered by distance learning and consists of core modules in Environmental Impact Assessment, Biodiversity Management, Pollution Monitoring and Environmental Data Analysis. For full details see website https://c-js.info/2rTswqG   w.hunter@ulster.ac.uk


University-based 2-day professional GIS training courses in ArcGIS, QGIS (Open Source software) and MapInfo using environmental applications and data. Bespoke courses tailored to your needs and deskside training also available. Discounts for unemployed, staff from charities and multiple delegates from same organisation. www.geodata.soton.ac.uk/geodata/training; training@geodata.soton.ac.uk; tel: 023 80592719


Plumpton College offers a range of Countryside Management courses at school and college level, including Countryside Management City and Guilds, level 2 and 3, that focus on land-based work and fish husbandry. For more information visit plumpton.ac.uk or email enquiries@plumpton.ac.uk to start your career in countryside management today!


PgDip/MSc Environmental Toxicology & Pollution Monitoring at Ulster University. The course is ideal if you already work in the environmental field or wish to pursue a career in this area as it fulfils demand for trained personnel in the environmental regulatory agencies, in companies subject to regulation, and companies involved in providing support services such as monitoring and consultancy. https://c-js.info/2rroRDv   rw.douglas@ulster.ac.uk


If you're interested in practical land management, habitat conservation and ecology, our Countryside Management course is perfect for you! Our courses have a practical focus, combining theory with hands-on experience on a wide range of sites, including our 850 acre Brooksby Campus.  Telephone: 01664 855444 Email: courseenquiries@brooksbymelton.ac.uk Website: www.brooksbymelton.ac.uk


We provide courses in green woodworking and bushcraft skills. The green woodworking courses focus on traditional rural skills. Whilst our bushcraft courses introduce the learners to very basic self-sufficiency skills. For more information take a look at our website - explorethegreatoutdoors.co.uk.


Emergency First Aid at Work. Friday 27th September 2019. 1 day training course at Beech Hill Farm, Ellerbeck, DL6 2TD. £85+VAT per candidate includes certification. Forestry option may be added. 01609 882408 Email: office@va-training.co.uk


We do a range of training courses, including pesticides, chainsaws, brushcutters, hedgecutters, mowers and woodchippers. We can also arrange ROLO, first aid and other safety courses. Call David, Horticultural Landscape Solutions on 07769 359545 to discuss your requirements.


19th & 20th November Bats and Trees - A course suitable for all beginner and intermediate ecologists, woodland managers and arborists looking at how bats use trees and how and when to undertake professional bat surveys of trees. Location in Lancashire. Cost £250+VAT, email info@ecologyservice.co.uk This course is also running on 3rd & 4th March 2020


Kacey are specialists in the supply of recycled plastic for boardwalks, dipping platforms etc. A cost effective, no rot, long lasting alternative to wood, Kacey materials are used extensively in NNRs and SSSIs across the UK. See examples on www.kaceyplastics.co.uk or contact us for an informal chat on 01764 671165.    logo: Kacey 


The RSPB runs a programme of habitat management training courses. Based on our research and land management experience, they also draw on external expertise and best practice and include fieldwork to ensure they remain practical and applied. The following course is still available this year; An introduction to managing woodland for wildlife. Places are limited to 25 people. The course costs £120 plus VAT unless otherwise stated which includes refreshments, lunch and course materials.

To find out more and book your place visit: https://rspb-advice-training-courses or email conservation-advice@rspb.org.uk. Please note, bespoke courses are also available.



logo: SCRAThe perfect Countryside Ranger applicant – is there one?


What an intriguing question!

Even after 33 years as a Countryside Ranger, recruiting annually for 28 of these, I’m like a fly in a field full of cowpats trying to pin down my thoughts.


You, the perfect applicant will have studied the recruitment pack. All of it. Carefully.


Your application form will allow the recruitment panel to tick off the essential and desirable requirements in fairly short order. Occasionally, an applicant will succeed with the very challenging task of understanding and articulating concisely the value of the experience they do have, without claiming “extensive knowledge” after six weeks of a work experience placement.


This is so important; your interview panel, by and large, have “seen it, done it, T-shirt, book and film rights”. They understand that you need to piece together a cohesive case based on the experience you do have. Be aware you are only a question or two away from your “extensive knowledge” being completely unravelled. You, the perfect applicant, understand that and present a case where you can speak comfortably about all the experience you bring.


Have you applied for “a job” or have you applied for “THE job”? There is an important difference which can tip the outcome of the interview in your favour.


Always apply for “THE Job”. You, the perfect applicant, are so excited by the prospect of working at this location, and, in a sentence or two, say what you feel it will add to your c.v.   At interview make the opportunity to highlight the projects or events run by your prospective employer that you find interesting. All this information is but a few clicks away, it would be negligent not to have done so. The perfect applicant does not say “I’ve never even thought about visiting (your location) until I arrived for the interview today.”  


Spelling, punctuation, grammer. The tools of an able communicator. The perfect applicant uses the facilities of modern computing to avoid embarrassing errors.


Double check your application for errors, and seek advice if it is not your strong point.


(I can scarce continue knowing that a deliberate typo is lurking…but I must. ) 


You, the perfect applicant, also possess a talent or specialist interest not immediately related to your job function. From chainsaw carving to flower arranging, you can bring a new dimension to the role and one that has great potential to add to the service delivery of your employer. 


Most of all, you, the perfect applicant, can demonstrate the soft skills that so many struggle with. Soft skills are often overlooked, even at interview, where pressures of time and a formulaic approach can depersonalise candidates to their detriment.


What are soft skills?

For me they are the ability to engage with people from all walks of life, an open and friendly personality which is valid whether these people are colleagues or customers, Lords or layabouts.  Soft skills help you appreciate and meet the expectations of both your employer and your customers. This can be acquired - retail work, hospitality industry, community projects, care homes and volunteering, all provide opportunities for you to develop and hone these skills.

George Potts (SCRA)

George Potts (SCRA)


Your role as a Countryside Ranger may be somewhere from the mountain tops, to the seashore; from remote and isolated, to urban and populous. Wherever you work the quality of your soft skills are a universal essential in the success of your role. Neglect them at your peril.


As a recruiter it is incumbent on you to provide the opportunity for the applicant to shine. Your own soft skills are essential in achieving that. We’ve all heard of hostile interviewers, cases where point scoring between colleagues relegates the candidate to an unwitting pawn.  I can recall an interview I had many years ago where one of the interview panel was doodling on his notepad. I watched as he drew an elaborate gravestone inscribed with “R.I.P.”   I didn’t get the job.


Lead by example, set the standard you expect, the perfect applicant will emerge and the challenge of getting through the recruitment process will reward you both handsomely.


George Potts.

Chair, Scottish Countryside Rangers Association, www.scra-online.co.uk


George Potts retired from the post of Senior Countryside Ranger with Dundee City Council in 2016. Throughout his career he recruited Countryside Ranger staff with an annual seasonal intake and for a number of Urban Ranger projects with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a historic park restoration and European funding for community regeneration.   George always provided support for staff in these temporary positions to submit successful applications for other jobs.  He believes he may have read more than 2000 application forms!!


Nationally recognised Lowland Leader and Hill & Moorland Leader training and assessment courses, plus National Navigation Award Scheme courses delivered in a clear, sensitive and fun manner from our base in Stirling, or at a location near you (for groups). Established 1984 and still committed to sharing expertise. www.cndoscotland.com


Applicant vs employer – the difference of opinion


Through our work CJS perceives the problems that applicants face as well as the issues met by employers during recruitment. To try and highlight some of the problems CJS asked a few employers along with some applicants to give their opinions on the countryside recruitment process.


A number of our social media followers were happy to provide details of their experiences whilst trying to secure that elusive job in the countryside sector.  It is clear that employers and candidates have differing perspectives. 


The application process



Good applications take time and effort, many candidates feel this is not always appreciated by employers.


Katrina Dick says:  "My first encounter with job application forms was for a seasonal ranger position. I really wanted the post and having read the job description and needs for it I simply wrote a whole essay about my love for nature and how I fitted in with all the essential and desirable criteria." She says she can spend  "a good average 5-6 hours on an application to make sure it was succinct, answered the criteria for the job, included the organisation’s objectives and values and how I fitted into this and which of course was grammatically correct".  Steve Luckett agrees and says: "If employers could remember candidates have invested a lot of time researching roles, completing applications (usually more than just the one they are advertising) and preparing, if selected, for interview before they get to meet them that would be appreciated."

The variation in type and length of application required can be off putting with questions asking everything from what you do in your spare time to demonstrations of leadership skills.  Katrina says her longest to date was 16 pages running to over 6,000 words once complete.


Inconsistences in job descriptions and essential and desirable criteria

Mollie Taylor says: "I believe that the level of experience labelled ‘necessary’ or ‘essential’ within current job roles are inconsistent with the career paths that current job seekers are aligned with." and believes "more support should be given to job seekers; and employers should become more flexible on what criteria really is ‘essential’."



Everyone who commented mentioned the perpetual problem of "experience required" even for entry level posts.

Debs Trewick-Carter says: "I have been vigorous & tireless in my job applications, applying for anything remotely connected to ranger or countryside management tasks. Roles that are advertised as temporary, part time, fixed contract and seasonal.   Some positions are advertised as entry level or assistant Ranger and even trainee!" and on asking for feedback has been told: "on occasion I gave a fantastic interview BUT was always beaten (and sometimes only just) whatever that means …………by someone with more EXPERIENCE!  Hey …hold on a minute, I applied for trainee or entry level, at best an assistant to a qualified ranger! " This despite having 500+ hours volunteering under her belt, mostly achieved during her "intense" L3 Advanced Technicals in Land and Wildlife Management, City and Guilds course at Plumpton College.


Which brings us to the next problem.



How are candidates to improve their applications if they don't receive feedback?  Steve Luckett comments: "Feedback is often generic and often it's down to me to chase it, couldn't everyone get a personal call - is 5 minutes too much to ask?"  Mollie Taylor agrees and highlights another issue: "My personal experience has resulted in a number of lengthy application processes, with no feedback or courtesy email when unsuccessful." Katrina Dick adds: "It used to drive me crazy with worry, had they got [my application] or had they not? Although this is something I have seen a marked improvement on in the last year, with automatic emails being sent out as a receipt."



Having successfully navigated the complexities of the application process for a select few comes the interview.

Steve Luckett says:  "I understand the recruitment process can be costly and time consuming for employers, but I found it very stressful trying to arrange time off, travel and sometimes accommodation to attend interviews."

Katrina Dick, who is based in Scotland, agrees: "If I am then invited to an interview I am more often than not expected to cover my own expenses, and of course as jobs in the countryside sector are scarce I am having to be incredibly flexible in terms of where I apply which has given me job interviews from Sutherland in the north of Scotland to Manchester in the north of England."  This flexibility is not an issue for Katrina as she herself says: "As a single, career woman with no ties this has not presented itself as an issue to me but I am aware of many skilled people having to give up the dream of becoming a ranger due to ties such as family and mortgages."

Occasionally candidates feel they are "making up the numbers" as other applicants are obviously known by the panel and/or other staff.  Steve recalls a second meeting with a fellow candidate at interview: "after we both were unsuccessful for a previous position and he told me he wasn't offered it because he didn't have tractor experience - but that was clear from his application so what was the point of interviewing him?"  He also wonders: "if for our industry a traditional interview panel is appropriate – 45 minutes talking across a desk is not what I'm good at but I have practical skills and knowledge to show people. I've always performed better in written exercises when I have a little more time to consider problems and situations - isn't this more reflective of real life and work?"


Is it worth it?

Despite all of these grumbles, some of which are not limited to the countryside management sector and I'm sure many of us have encountered similar situations (I know I have), everyone agrees it's worth the herculean effort required. Katrina says: "it's a hard sector to get into. Is it worth it? Yes! Would I change [the sector] for the world? No way!"



Take home points for recruiters

1. Be honest in your description, if you need experience say so and don't term your low paid post as graduate / trainee / entry level.

2. Keep your application form and process short and simple.

3. Acknowledge application receipt, an automatic email is better than nothing.

4. Try to be flexible in your essential / desirable qualifications and skills.

5. Include an interview date in your advert (or job pack) even it's still to be confirmed.

6. Consider your interview process. Would a practical task be more appropriate? Or if it's to be a more theoretical discussion could it be held digitally, via Skype?

7. And finally, here's the big one: give personalised feedback.


Now the turn of the employers, our thanks to all the people who contributed to this piece.


I've interviewed for jobs, probably the last one was last year. I'm also involved in shortlisting for some posts although HR do the actual recruitment side of things. I work for a County Council's Countryside Service doing a ranger type role I think the job roles are changing more in some organisations. Rather than being a practical hands on role, it's turning into more of a contract management, office based role. (Not the case with my role but anecdotal evidence suggests this is happening more and more in local government posts as more stuff gets put out to private contracts!)


Certainly we advertise more posts now as being part time, with some anti-social hours, but with no pay enhancements to cover it. I have also noticed the last few jobs we advertised we had very few applicants for. This may be due to the part time nature of the role plus needing to do weekends on a flat rate. The part time roles therefore seem to only attract semi-retired professionals as younger people need a full wage coming in.

When we do get applications from younger people some have no practical experience at all to back up their application. They may have a degree but can't actually put a fence up. When we've had people on work experience and I talk to them about what they're planning to do when they leave uni, they tend to want to do more consultancy type roles and they're better paid. We did try advertising an apprenticeship at one stage but we had barely any applications so it didn't work out.


I've been in post for 15 years. When I applied for the job (there were three ranger posts up for grabs at the time) there were over 100 applications and we used to get 40 or 50 applications for a single job. Now we're lucky to get a dozen and I know my colleagues in the Public Rights of Way Team really have issues with this for certain posts.


My personal opinion on the situation is that university degrees are far too expensive now (it was free when I studied). It's putting young people in too much debt. And you're not going to take on that kind of debt to then enter a poorly paid career, often on temporary contracts, where you are also required to do a lot of voluntary work to pad out your practical skills. But that is just a personal opinion!


It is a view from the public sector and obviously we all struggle with our finances at the moment, so you may find the charitable sector view a bit different!

logo: Warwickshire County CouncilWorking for Warwickshire’s Country Parks offers a varied and interesting opportunity for anyone starting out in a countryside career.  We manage a range of reclaimed habitats including gravel pits, landfill sites and disused railway lines for the benefit of people and wildlife and each year we look for additional seasonal staff to help cover the sites during the busier summer months when visitor services are the priority.  We have seen a steady decline in the number of applicants over the years and lately we are finding a lack of candidates interested in working directly with the public.  There appears to be a desire from recent graduates to go straight in to pure conservation roles where they can work on a specific habitat or species and the conservation charities and trusts offer that opportunity far more than we, as a council service, can offer.


The application forms we do receive are varied in their quality; some are too vague and are too difficult to read!  Candidates need to ensure they fill out all of the application form, and provide us with full address details, for themselves and any referees.  They need to write or type clearly any email addresses and use the job description and person specification to provide headings and cover everything with an example under each.  It is most important to look at every line under the essential criteria, and explain on the application how they meet it.  We are looking to find how they match up to these through the application form. Make it easy for the shortlisting team by listing out the items and putting their match against each one. The lengthy descriptions of how they  have always loved nature and being outdoors are interesting, but will not help them stand out from the crowd, what we need is examples  which relate back to the person and job specification.  Understandably, starting out, candidates may have gaps but they need to think of anything which is transferable to a country park situation.  If it’s not written down, we cannot guess if they have the essential criteria we are asking for.


When we have sifted through the applications and finally get to meet the candidates we start again and this is their opportunity to shine.  Some fantastic forms have provided some difficult interviews.  An interview should not be an unpleasant experience, so we try to be friendly and relaxed, we want candidates to open up and talk to us.  What we have found is some people struggle to speak to us and they don’t provide full answers explaining their experiences and how they could relate to our roles. 


Kingsbury Water Park Pine Pool (Warwickshire County Council)

Kingsbury Water Park Pine Pool (Warwickshire County Council)

Something that we look for in our applicants is the ability to use their own initiative, be proactive, take decisions and have some common sense; these are crucial attributes for countryside rangers in a busy semi-urban country park.  Something we hear regularly when questioned on initiative is ‘I’ve worked on my own as part of my dissertation doing surveys’.  Working on your own initiative is not the same as working alone.  Initiative is the ability to assess a situation or problem and fix it, to take action and get it resolved and some candidates can struggle to provide a full example of how they demonstrate this ability.


We also need seasonal staff who are confident with talking to the public, and are willing to, or have had experience of leading and instructing children as this is a fundamental part of the ranger role during the summer season.

 logo: Warwickshire's Country Parks

We have had apprenticeships within the service over the last few years.   It gives them the opportunity to learn on the job, be practical and develop the skills required under the guidance and instruction of more knowledgeable staff.   This has been successful for both the apprentice and for ourselves in so far as the majority have gone on to gain successful employment in this field. Unfortunately it’s often not within our own service, as the permanent positions don’t come up very often.  Rangers do tend to enjoy their roles and stay put therefore creating a lack of opportunity for candidates trying to break into the industry and land a more permanent position.


Authors: Rachel Hextal (Ranger) Tracy Jones (Education Ranger) Paula Cheesman (Parks Manager)


logo: National TrustHow did you get into that? Questions Rangers get asked

Matt North, Lead Ranger, Dark Peak, National Trust


“How do you get to be a ranger then?”

This isn’t an uncommon question and doesn’t come as a surprise.  When I am at work I do have RANGER written in big white letters several centimetres high on my back.


Matthew North

Matthew North

But it’s really hard to answer in a quick sentence without a throwaway line like, “find a partner who gets a good wage”.


Lots of people want to get a job in helping look after the environment for as many reasons as there are different jobs. There are many different job titles for those roles; estate workers, ecologists, visitor experience managers, countryside officers, wardens, project officers, nature reserve managers, arborists, environmental educators and of course rangers. Rangers usually have to do a bit of everything.


It’s a very competitive field; lots of people want to get countryside management jobs and they are not common. Austerity over the last few years has contracted the field further as the current political climate does not appear to place a value on helping people access green places while protecting and enhancing natural and cultural heritage. This has resulted in countryside services and projects, frequently in local authorities, being cut to the bone or completely done away with.


This is despite lots of people jumping up and down saying this sort of thing is really, REALLY, important for things like biodiversity, mental and physical health, social cohesion, the economy – locally, regionally and nationally - education, child development, reducing crime, agriculture, climate change and flood mitigation. There are many more but I don’t have much room to include them all so I suggest you do a bit of research.


Now we also have the uncertainty of Brexit. Regardless of political opinions, this will have a long lasting impact on the environmental management field for years to come. Whether this is positive or negative will be borne out in time.


It’s not impossible to break into this job market though. I have led and supported much recruitment for countryside management/ranger posts.


I’ve also managed to make my career in the industry since my first full time post in 1992 so I know what it’s like to apply for jobs and be interviewed for jobs I desperately wanted! So here’s a brief summary of my points and thoughts.


Dramatic landscape across Kinder, Edale and the Dark Peak (National Trust images)

Dramatic landscape across Kinder, Edale and the Dark Peak

(National Trust images)

First of all: Do you really want this career? It’s not all driving about in a 4x4 with a new chainsaw in the back whilst looking to the horizon with a furrowed, if suntanned brow.


It can be hard, physical work, for not much money that may require you moving around the country for the jobs. Contracts may be short term due to funding or project lifetime. Most posts also involve working with visitors, volunteers, local communities and your team so it’s handy if you like people and can get on with them.


This still you? Now you have to see how you can get on that job ladder!


Volunteering: There are lots of reasons why people volunteer, they may be looking to start or change to a career as a ranger, gain some experience, pick up and practice new skills as well as the social aspect and feel they are doing something useful.


A good volunteer is worth their weight in gold; Providing hands, eyes and ears for places that are frequently under resourced. Volunteers may be unpaid but they should be respected and managed accordingly. They should not be there to pick up litter day in, day out, (unless that’s what they signed up for!) or be a cheap alternative to employing someone.  It’s a difficult balancing act but don’t forget you may be managing volunteers in the future so it’s all practice, even if you may have some challenging experiences initially.


If you are looking for voluntary work, check out what’s available and be clear about your motivations when applying for such work. What are you offering and what does the organisation you are giving your time to offer in terms of opportunities, training and support? Be aware that volunteers can take up a lot of time for staff who have plenty of other things they need to do so don’t expect them to be at your beck and call.


When you have a bit of time under your belt could you ask for more responsibility? Do you want to concentrate on one aspect or try and get a broad a range of experiences in, for example; education, writing management plans, health and safety, practical work on habitats, boundaries and countryside access provision. How about recruiting volunteers from different backgrounds to those currently coming in? Want to lead groups or tasks?


Remember what you have achieved and why. It’s all useful for that application and interview.


The people you work with can also provide references. As well as formal requests for references, I like to ring referees up to get some background from them on you when shortlisting or considering offering jobs.


It’s worth noting that I have recruited ex volunteers. They still had to go through the application process but the advantage was I knew them and what they were capable of and they knew the team and job.


Academic study: Job descriptions and profiles will say what qualifications and/or experience is expected. Do some research on what these are so you can see what is the industry standard for the career you’re looking for.


An academic qualification based in the environmental field will give you a good grounding in principles and knowledge that you can use on the job.


However, studying these days is expensive. You wouldn’t buy a car or house without doing some research first so I would suggest the same when choosing a course. Does this qualification point you in any particular career path? Has anyone who’s done the course gone on to get a job in what you are hoping to do? Do you know someone in the countryside management industry who can look at the syllabus and say if they think it would be useful?


I would recommend looking for those courses that have work experience placements incorporated. This really helps applicants stand out from the crowd of recent graduates applying and in my personal experience found these opportunities invaluable in my career development.


Does the university/college course you’re considering talk to the countryside and conservation industry regularly to check what they are offering on courses is what the employers want? For example I was a bit flabbergasted when I found out a local university has stopped offering a module on GIS/Mapping for its environmental courses!


Dramatic landscape across Kinder, Edale and the Dark Peak (National Trust images)

Dramatic landscape across Kinder, Edale and the Dark Peak

(National Trust images)

Training: Not got an environmental graduate qualification? Not the end of the world. I have worked with people with degrees as diverse as music and maths. You do need to get some knowledge and experience under your belt. NVQs or similar can be useful ways to get up to speed.


Such training is frequently part of apprenticeships and similar offers. These are a really good way for organisations to obtain the skills base they need for their staff.  Keep your eyes peeled and check if organisations such as the National Trust have any programmes planned. If so, is there a time of year they recruit and what are they looking for? Again applying for these posts is competitive so use the time to prepare yourself to stand out from the crowd.


Applications: If you have found your dream job on the Countryside Jobs Service, chances are so have a lot of other people.


The first hurdle to get over is the initial sifting of the applications. When recruiting I have regularly had a pile of more than a hundred applications to go through to shortlist for the next stage. Normally I use a score sheet based on the main points in the job profile and description and judge each applicant accordingly and give the ones with the most points an interview.


Who makes it through this time consuming and will sapping process? Those people who bother to read the information provided and make it very easy for me and my colleagues to put ticks or scores against those points that we feel are important.  So if you see words like ‘experience’, ‘teamwork’ or ‘customer service’ it’s worthwhile going through your application thinking “Have I covered all these points and succinctly demonstrated that I can do this?” Think about how easy it is for us poor recruiters to see what you can do.


How can you stand out? I’ve given some tips above but I would suggest the following:

  • Do you show you want to work for us? Don’t knock off a standard CV and covering letter that reads like you have inserted the name of the organisation on to a pro forma. If I read your application, I want to know why you want to work for the organisation I represent and the places you are looking to work. Do some research! If you know about the values of the organisation you are applying to, you can represent these to the public and generate support and understanding.
  • How committed are you? I once offered a traineeship to a candidate who wanted to get into the profession. She didn’t have a broad range of experience but she spent a weekend a month digging ditches all winter with a local group of volunteers because that was all that was available where she lived. This wasn’t the only reason for my decision but it tipped the balance for me.
  • You may not have examples of specific experience to demonstrate why you are the best applicant but can you give examples of similar situations or demonstrate transferable skills?
  • Be honest! Don’t make stuff up or over embellish. If my spider sense starts tingling in the application or interview process, I will investigate and check it out. I want to be able to trust you if you come and work for me.
  • What other values and behaviours do you think are important? Do you like teams? Do you stop learning when you get a job? How do you approach difficult situations? Give examples so I don’t have to read a standard response of “I am a team worker but enjoy working on my own initiative to solve problems…” for the umpteenth time.


Interviews: Recruiting is expensive. It takes a lot of time and effort and is a very big decision for the manager and team as well as the applicants, so we invest time and money to find the right person.


As such, don’t be put out if you think it’s rather an involved recruitment process rather than a simple sit down interview. We don’t sit around coming up with daft things to do because it’s fun!


We want to see what you can do, how you behave and see how you fit with the team. For example as part of the interview I have regularly asked for portfolios or presentations demonstrating why you are a good applicant for the job, sent candidates out for a walk and a chat with a team member or put interviewees together on a job. All this is to get to know you, help you relax and see what you can do. We aren’t there to catch you out!


Good luck in your job hunting. The only advice I can give is, if you want to do this as a career, you will get there in the end. It is worth it.






Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) was formed when in 2012, SAC (the Scottish Agricultural College) merged with three other prestigious land-based colleges - Oatridge, Elmwood and Barony - to become one of the largest institutions of its kind in Europe. SRUC is a University-level College offering education and training in environmental conservation from further education certificates, Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, degrees, Masters and PhDs across six regional campuses in Scotland; Aberdeen, Ayr, Barony (Dumfries), Edinburgh, Elmwood (Fife) and Oatridge (West Lothian), with a growing suite of online courses at various levels. SRUC also offers CPD events and professional short courses in various aspects of land management and conservation science. All vocationally-led. www.sruc.ac.uk  

logo: SRUC 


Join the Outdoor Recreation Network for their upcoming ‘Outdoor Recreation 2030: Future Trends and Insights’ Conference on 22nd & 23rd October 2019.

This two-day conference will look at what past and current trends tell us about how to prepare for the future, what determines the next “big thing” and the role the outdoors play in contributing to good health and wellbeing. Given the pace of change in the sector this is a timely occasion to gather leaders across the outdoor recreation industry and consider how to plan for and manage future challenges and opportunities. Please book early as tickets are limited and expected to fill up fast. Visit outdoorrecreation.org.uk for the full programme and booking details.

image: ORN conference


We provide high quality training courses to assist with countryside management at our extensive facilities in Holmfirth.  Countryside Management courses include: All-Terrain Vehicles and 4X4 training; Tractor Driving; Mowers; Brushcutter/trimmer; Clearing Saw; Chainsaw; Fencing; Hedge Laying; Hedge Trimming; Basic Tree Survey & Inspection

More information and booking at https://c-js.co.uk/2kOTrov

logo: TKF Training


image: Martin Bailey

If you've never seen biodiversity (there is none in the UK), come with me to our 'secret corner' of Poland where wolves, lynx, beavers, wild boar, wildcats & pine martens roam and discover what a functioning ecosystem looks and sounds like. Check out https://secure.wildlifeservices.co.uk/poland-wildlife-trips or call 03339 000927.


The CJS Team would like to thank everyone who has contributed adverts, articles and information for this CJS Focus publication. 

Next edition will feature the Next Generation, published 2 December 2019



CJS Announcements and articles of interest.


CJS 25th Birthday thoughts.

logo: Exmoor National ParkI entered the countryside management field in 1997 so CJS has been there for my whole career. I fondly remember the jobs sheet turning up in the post each week at my first volunteer position with Saltwells Nature Reserve. It always included great sounding jobs in far flung parts of the UK. The CJS team have a real passion to support our industry and offer more than just a jobs promotion service. I feel particularly grateful for the work they have done to support the Countryside Management Association, both financially and through practical support over the years. CJS have supported skills, knowledge and networking across our industry which helps us all to deliver the important work we are all doing. I’d like to wish CJS and the team a very happy birthday and wish you all good luck with the next 25 years.

Dan Barnett

Access and Recreation Manager, Exmoor National Park Authority


logo: Cranborne Chase AONBI offer my congratulations to Countryside Jobs Service (CJS) for 25 years of dedication to the countryside and environment sector. Here at Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) we have utilised the vacancy advertising service CJS offers on a number of occasions – to great effect! The swift service, very competitive pricing and vast audiences CJS reaches, ensures we will continue to use their excellent services into the future. The CJS team is highly knowledgeable and experienced and genuinely committed to serving the sector and those who have a passion for it. Their enthusiasm for all things ‘countryside’ shines through and they are an absolute pleasure to work with.

Linda Nunn

Director, Cranborne Chase AONB


Birthday Present 

CJS Birthday gifts.

For October we have two lovely environmentally friendly gifts for you: a set of winter themed seedballs and from Big Wild Thought two badger prints and a red fox accessories case.


winter themed set of seedball tinsA gift set of 3 festive wildflower tins from Seedball – perfect for a Christmas gift or stocking filler. The set includes Bee Merry (wildflowers that are especially great for bees), Let it Snow (all white flowering wildflowers) and Wonderland (wildflowers that are ideal for woodland or shady spots). Each tin contains 20 seed balls, and together the set will cover an area 3 square metres in a garden or 9-15 medium sized pots. Each ball is made of native seeds, clay, peat-free compost and chili powder. The ball prevents the seeds from being a tasty lunch for birds and insects, thereby increasing the chance of flowers growing. They’re super easy to use, no digging and no expert knowledge needed – simply throw onto soil or compost in a garden bed or planter in Spring or Autumn, leaving at least 10cm between each ball. The Seed balls have everything they needs to grow and, once the ball stays soaked (from rain or watering) and the temperature is right, the seeds will germinate. All wildflower seeds are great for bees, butterflies and other garden wildlife too. Seedball is a multiple award winning company founded by two conservation scientists determined to turn all our gardens into wildlife reserves.

Find out more, order some right now or perhaps a kit to make your own: https://www.seedball.co.uk/

image of the prints and accessory bag prizes 

Big Wild Thought

logo: Big Wild ThoughtWe are Big Wild Thought, a clothing brand based in Sheffield, which is located in the great county of Yorkshire. Here, we (Laura and Liam, Founders) decided that we were going to create a brand that allows people to wear and care at the same time. We love animals and we hate seeing the impact us as a species are having on them, so we wanted to get involved with some of the most amazing charities and support them as much as we can! We donate 10% of each sale to the relevant animal charity, and are now helping 7 different animal charities not only in the UK but Worldwide. Also, all our packaging is made from recycled cardboard and acid-free tissue paper, which is ALL RECYLABLE!  www.bigwildthought.co.uk

We have a lovely red fox accessory bag and two badger prints (one image and one definition).  These are beautiful and we'd quite like to keep them for ourselves!


Enter the draw here, closes 31 October




CJS25: Photography CompetitionWe're looking for any photo that you think is relevant to CJS, your fellow readers and other professionals working across all of the the countryside, conservation, ecology, wildlife, environmental education, arboriculture sectors. More detail on the categories and prizes here.

We're suggesting categories each month to guide you although you may enter photos on any subject.


September Winner

We have some incredibly talented photographers amongst our readers, once again we received some amazing photos covering a wide range of subjects. But after much discussion we chose this lovely photo of the ducklings on Lancaster Canal taken by John Jones. Very appropriate for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust membership prize and ties in with our featured charity this year: Canal and River Trust.


The CJS Team say this is a simply a beautiful scene; the depth of this image really appealed to all of us, noticing the duck and ducklings in the foreground before being drawn deeper through the arch of the bridge and on to the water beyond.  The bright sunshine illuminating the brilliant greens of the verdant plant life and creating the reflection of the mother duck on the water and highlighting the ripples the little flotilla are making in the otherwise still water. All creating a very pleasing image where the more you look, the more there is to see.

See the gallery of winners here


The October suggested theme is: British Wildlife

robin nest boxWildlife & Countryside Services supply nest boxes, wildlife cameras, bat detectors, meadow turf and much more besides. Whatever you want on a wildlife theme, give Martin & Cheryl a call on 0333 9000 927 for great service with a smile.

Wildlife Services also take small groups of people to an amazingly biodiverse area of south-east Poland where you can watch beavers every day, wander the forest where wolves and lynx roam, and watch and photograph a myriad of amazing birds, insects and reptiles.

Sand lizards, purple emperors, fritillaries, red-backed shrikes, quail and corncrakes, among many others, are common here and there are lots of photographic opportunities.

Discover what beavers do to the landscape and how they benefit a multitude of other species and save £100 off your trip if you bring a friend - just quote “CJS100”.

More about the reasons for us running a photography competition here.


CJS want to thank all the wonderful organisations who are supporting our competition by providing prizes. 

As well as the monthly prizes there are four over all prizes.

The winner will receive an invitation to the gala opening of the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2020. We have runners up prizes of a year's membership of Society of International Nature & Wildlife Photographers a bundle of birdwatching books.  These are chosen by the CJS Team however we are also going to open the floor to readers with a Readers Choice photo which will win a year's subscription to BBC Wildlife magazine. More about the prizes here.


Staged photographs and the CJS Photography Competition - an important change to the rules, please read. 

Following the furore around the winning image in the BBC Countryfile calendar photography competition (here on The Times if you've not seen it already) the CJS Team has discussed the implications for our competition and as a result we have updated the rules with regard to staged images. Read the updated rules here.

Many images would be impossible without staging, from Simon King many years ago explaining his dormouse against the moon image was taken in a studio to the behind the scenes on many of the BBC Natural History programmes and now the Countryfile mouse and apple photo it has become a more widely acknowledged practice.  We have discussed at length the ability to determine which (if any) images are staged and feel that whilst for some images it will be apparent (such as the mouse) there may some where it will not be so obvious.  With that in mind we have agreed that staged, and camera trap, images will be permitted with the proviso that this is specified at time of entry.  We would also remind photographers that the welfare of wildlife should be uppermost in their minds at all times and must come before any desire to capture the photograph.

In May 2019, the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) launched a new social media crime prevention campaign titled Undisturbed calling on all UK wildlife photographers and drone operators to ensure the welfare of wild animals while photographing or filming them. At the time NWCU wrote about the initiative for CJS, we would encourage all photographers to read this article.



We collate together news from across the internet; sent out in real time via twitter and each day we pick a handful of stories of interest which are included on the Headlines page, the daily email update and here grouped according to subject.


Click on the headline to read more. 


Lead story this month has to be the Glover Report: 

Independent review calls for radical plan for England’s National Parks - defra

Major review calls for biggest shakeup of the running of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty since they were founded 70 years ago.

Honister Pass, Buttermere, Lake District National Park (Obsidain Photography / pixabay)Honister Pass, Buttermere, Lake District National Park (Obsidain Photography / pixabay)

Seventy years after the Act of Parliament that created the first National Parks, a major independent review – led by writer Julian Glover – has called for bold action to reignite the founding spirit of our great National Park movement in order to make them greener, more beautiful and open to everyone.

The review published today (Saturday 21 September) praises the brilliant work which has been done to maintain the beauty of places such as the Lake District, Exmoor and the Dorset coast.

But it warns that new challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and a changing, urban society mean that new approaches are needed to get the most out of England’s most-loved landscapes, including National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).

Key recommendations include:

  • a new National Landscapes Service to act as a unified body for England’s 44 national landscapes, including 10 National Parks and 34 AONBs
  • creating a 1,000 strong ranger service to be the “friendly face” of our national parks and help engage schools and communities
  • giving every school pupil the opportunity to spend a night “under the stars” in these special landscapes to help more children to connect with nature
  • new protections, responsibilities, titles and funding for AONBs to help them be greener, more beautiful and more welcoming to the public
  • a transformed approach to recover and enhance nature, working with farmers and conservation groups to reverse years of decline and bring landscapes alive
  • backing for a new National Park in the Chilterns and a new National Forest, taking in areas such as Sherwood Forest, as part of a drive to increase woodland spaces to fight climate change

Julian Glover, who led the review, said: " From the high fells of the Lake District to the wildness of Exmoor, England’s most beautiful places define our country. Today we are setting out a big, bold plan to bring them alive to tackle the crisis in our natural environment and make sure they are there for everyone to enjoy. If we take action, we can make our country healthier, happier, greener, more beautiful and part of all our lives. Seventy years ago this year we created our national parks for a nation that had just won the Second World War. Now it’s time to reignite that mission." 

The recommendations of the Designated Landscapes review will now be considered and responded to by the government in due course.

The 27 recommendations of the review include:

  • new long-term programmes to increase the number of BAME visitors
  • expanding volunteering in our national landscapes
  • better information and signs to guide visitors
  • a ranger service in all our national landscapes, part of a national family
  • consider expanding open access rights in national landscapes
  • a new National Landscapes Housing Association to build affordable homes.
  • new designated landscapes and a new national forest. The review recommended three large AONBs should be considered for National Park status – The Cotswolds, and Dorset. The review would also support the designation of the Forest of Dean as a national landscape. The review also recommended there is a strong case for a new national forest taking in areas such as Sherwood Forest, north of Nottingham and south of Worksop.
  • a new National Landscapes Service to bring the National Parks and AONBs together and set greater ambitions
  • welcoming new landscape approaches in cities and the coast, and a city park competition
  • a new financial model – more money, more secure, more enterprising


cover of Landscape Review reportDownload the Landscapes review: final report in full. 168 page PDF.

In May 2018 the government asked for an independent review into whether the protections for National Parks and AONBs are still fit for purpose. In particular, what might be done better, what changes will help and whether the definitions and systems in place are still valid.

The review’s final report was published on 21 September 2019. It was led by Julian Glover and supported by an experienced advisory group: Lord Cameron of Dillington, Jim Dixon, Sarah Mukherjee, Dame Fiona Reynolds and Jake Fiennes.

The review’s terms of reference set out what it looked at and how it was carried out.


Ambitious proposals in “biggest shakeup” – findings of the Glover review renew vision for National Parks - Campaign for National Parks 

Major changes to the running of National Parks have been proposed today [Saturday 21 September] in an independent review of England’s designated landscapes led by Julian Glover. Campaign for National Parks has welcomed the ambitious agenda set out in the report. 

Chief Executive, Corinne Pluchino said: “This is an exciting moment for the National Parks where so much has been achieved and it is essential that we do not lose the momentum that has been created by the review. It’s absolutely right to point out the many challenges facing the Parks and to consider how we can renew and refocus their role to meet the needs of the nation today, both as a source of beauty and tranquillity and as places rich in wildlife and natural resources that can also help to address the challenges of climate change. We look forward to studying the report in detail.” Janette Ward, Chair of Campaign for National Parks, said: “We are delighted our campaign to give every school child a chance to experience the extraordinary National Parks for themselves is being recommended today. To sit beneath the starry skies, hear the calls of owls and breathe fresh air is a life changing and enriching experience. We are so glad Julian and his team share this view.”

Corinne commented: “We are delighted that the Glover Review believes that new National Parks can still make a valuable contribution to the nation. However, we believe it is essential that additional resources are made available to fund any new Parks, and that the finances needed to sustain and enhance the existing Parks are not reduced as a result. Our National Parks have to be properly resourced to do their job and supported by our politicians.”

However, the charity warns that the Glover review is only a first step and that the real work begins here.

Corinne added: “This has the potential to be a step-change for our National Parks but this is only the beginning. We will now be closely examining the detail of the proposals and will be working to ensure that the momentum is maintained by the Government in its response. We would urge the Government to use this as a springboard, to take this opportunity to deliver real leadership on countryside issues.”


Peak District National Park Authority statement in response to the publication of the "Landscapes Review" led by Julian Glover 


Environment Secretary welcomes Landscapes Review - defra in the media blog

There was widespread positive coverage on Saturday including in The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, The i, The Daily Mail, and The Guardian of the independent Landscapes Review commissioned by Defra into the running of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Environment Secretary also appeared live on Sky News and the Today Programme to talk about the review.


CPRE welcomes Glover Review of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive, said:" ‘We welcome this vital review into how National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty can be even better in the future. These astounding landscapes should be experienced and enjoyed by everyone, so we absolutely agree that more must be done to improve access for all. We believe there should be a bold ambition for every child to visit and learn about these places and for people from all walks of life to have the opportunity to visit and fall in love with National Parks and AONBs. Now it is time for Government action to ensure that many of these great recommendations can become a reality. We very much look forward to working together towards a brighter future for National Parks and AONBs.’


Our response to the Glover Review - National Trust

We warmly welcome the Glover Review. As nearly three quarters of our land lies within National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), we share the view that we should be doing all we can to help as many people as possible to access our amazing countryside. The National Trust fully supports the Review’s ambition to break down some of the barriers to access, so that people from all walks of life feel welcome and experience the joy of our natural world.

The National Trust would like to see our protected landscapes deliver more for nature with a stronger focus on the environment, it is great to see that this has been recognised and we are keen to work with National Parks to help them lead the way.


Government Announcements and Policy

New measures protect animal welfare and increase woodland cover - Defra

The Government has announced proposals on new measures to enhance the welfare of animals and increase woodland cover.

The Government has announced proposals on new measures to enhance the welfare of animals both here in the UK and abroad.

The measures include proposals to ban long journeys of live animals that are being transported for slaughter, and restrictions on the import and export of hunting trophies from endangered animals.

Alongside these measures, the Government has announced plans to create a new forest region in Northumberland to help improve our natural environment and respond to climate change.

The Government is committed to leaving the environment, and the wildlife that depend on it, in a better state for future generations. The UK already has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and these proposals aim to raise those standards even further.

Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "High standards of animal welfare are one of the hallmarks of a civilised society. We have a long tradition of protecting animals in this country, often many years before others follow. Leaving the EU allows us to take even bigger steps forward on this. These proposals will protect our animals in our homes, in agriculture, and in the wild. I have campaigned for an end to live exports for slaughter and the consultation is a further step in taking forward our manifesto commitment on this issue. This is an important victory for all those thousands of people across the country who have campaigned for tougher measures to protect animal welfare. The planting of one million trees will also be fundamental in our commitment to be the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it. They will enhance our landscape, improve our quality of life and protect the climate for future generations."


Public to have their say on stronger protections for UK waters - Defra

Independent panel calls for views on introduction of Highly Protected Marine Areas

The public are being asked to give their views on strengthening protections for UK waters to help safeguard precious species and habitats.

As part of a four-week call for evidence which launches today (3 October 2019), communities, industry and stakeholders are being asked for their comments on putting tougher measures in place to help stop the impacts of human activity from damaging the marine environment. Views are also sought on which areas would benefit most from these extra protections.

These Highly Protected Marine Areas would be the strongest form of marine protection in the UK and would build on the 220,000 square kilometres of protection areas already in place around the UK. Known as the ‘Blue Belt’, these areas are already helping to protect species such as the short-snouted seahorse and stalked jellyfish.

The government is committed to restoring the marine environment for future generations and is a world-leader on this issue, having committed to safeguarding 50 per cent of UK and Overseas Territory waters by the end of next year. And at last week’s United Nations General Assembly, the UK created a global alliance to drive urgent action to safeguard the world’s ocean and protect its precious wildlife.

Today’s call for evidence is part of a six-month review undertaken by an independent panel of experts to look at what further protections might be needed to drive progress in the UK.


England biodiversity indicators - defra statistical update

A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services, biodiversity 2020 indicators: 2019 assessment.

Strategy for England's wildlife and ecosystem services, Biodiversity 2020 Indicators

This data set provides a detailed statistical update of 24 indicators that give an overview of biodiversity in England.

Download the Statistics (OpenDocument format) 


Land and Countryside Management. 

Natural killer of Himalayan Balsam offers hope for tackling troublesome invader - Broads Authority

Scientists and land managers have been enthused by promising results from a research site in the Broads National Park, where a killer ‘rust fungus’, which attacks the alien Himalayan Balsam is slowly spreading.

With its attractive pink flowers, this waterside-loving plant is invading the Broads so rapidly that scientists are concerned by its negative impact upon the riverbank and biodiversity. It out-competes native plants and increases the risk of soil erosion and flooding.

Many land managers struggle to control Himalayan Balsam and resort to expensive measures to halt its advance. The Environment Agency estimate that current measures to tackle the weed cost around £1 million annually, but would rise to £300 million to eradicate it entirely from the UK.

Last year, a research team released Himalayan Balsam plants infected with the killer rust-fungus onto sites around the banks of rivers Wensum, Glaven and Bure. The team, from the ‘RAPID LIFE’ project, the Norfolk Non-Native Species Initiative and the Broads Authority, have since observed the diseased plants spreading through the National Park area. 


Community can get involved in new Swindon urban meadows project – Swindon Borough Council

A project to enhance urban meadows and forest habitats while improving people’s health and wellbeing is about to be launched in Swindon.

Swindon Borough Council has teamed up with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) to deliver the three-year programme, the Forest Meadows Project, which will include 12 sites within the borough covering more than 170 hectares.

Most of the meadow and forest sites are located along the corridor of the River Ray, but the project will also link to other areas including Sevenfields, the Lawns and WWT reserves where wonderful meadows already exist.

The project, which is being funded by the Council with £80,000 in Section 106 developer contributions and other biodiversity grants, will be led by WWT, who will work with the Council, parish councils and local community groups.

It will involve sustaining existing meadows by establishing annual maintenance programmes to form traditional ‘hay meadows’ as well as more intensive management of other locations such as stripping existing vegetation and re-sowing and planting wildflowers.

Grazing animals such as cattle could also be introduced on some of the areas in order to improve biodiversity and sustain the management of the sites.

Some community groups, such as those in Highworth, Hreod Burna and Rivermead, already manage the sites and the project will support them to improve their meadows and hopefully recruit new members.,

Where there is limited or no current community activity, such as at Mouldon Hill, WWT and the Council will work with parish councils to establish new community groups.

One of the main focuses of the project will be to link in with existing health and wellbeing groups in Swindon to encourage their members to get involved in a wide range of activities from the sowing and planting of wildflowers through to the biological monitoring of sites for wildlife such as butterflies and moths.


Peatland restoration of the Cheviot reaches new heights in battle against Climate Change! - Northumberland National Park Authority

A major peatland restoration project covering an area roughly the size of 241 football pitches, has just got underway on the summit of the Cheviot, the highest peak in Northumberland National Park to help in the fight against climate change.

England’s peatlands play a significant role in storing carbon and are capable of capturing and storing large amounts of carbon dioxide, as well as being wonderful habitats in their own right. Erosion caused by weather, grazing or land use can expose the peat and lead to the release of carbon into atmosphere.  The project is one of the largest peatland restoration projects in the North of England covering 151 hectares and will prevent an estimated 585 tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere each year, once restored – equivalent to the greenhouse gases emitted by an average car travelling 1.43 million miles.

Digger working to restore peatland (image: Northumberland National Park)Digger working to restore peatland (image: Northumberland National Park)

(Ed: I recognise the name on that digger!, Terra Firma are regular advertisers)

Following considerable preparation and planning due to the remoteness of the area and sensitivity of the site, work has just started. The summit plateau, usually home to a few hardy walkers, species of birds and insects, will have specialist diggers working to reshape the peat haggs to enable plants to grow and prevent further erosion.  Later in the year native plants, including heathers, cottongrass and sphagnum mosses will be harvested from the valley below and flown up by helicopter to be planted and help protect the bare peat.

Gill Thompson, ecologist at Northumberland National Park, explains “The peatland restoration on the Cheviot is the highest altitude project to be undertaken as part of The North of England Peat Partnership, and it does present a number of challenges – not only in terms of getting machinery to the summit but also people, as every day the team working on the project need to walk an hour up Northumberland’s highest hill to get to work, but the views are stunning!"   


FLS peatland restoration gets £3 million boost – Forestry and Land Scotland

Forestry and Land Scotland’s (FLS) ongoing efforts to restore former forestry plantation to peatland has been given a £3 million boost from the Peatland Action Fund and Scottish Government. 

The funding, administered by Scottish Natural Heritage, is drawn from the Scottish Government’s £14 million investment in projects to restore degraded peatlands - a Programme for Government commitment. 

The £3 million will add further momentum to FLS’s 5 five year programme of restoration works which has begun restoration across 2,500 hectares of afforested land, and 3,000 hectares of existing but threatened open peatland.

This year’s work will see a further 785 ha restored across 14 sites across Scotland, and a range of works such s surveys and the construction of roads and bridges to enable larger programmes of restoration work in future.  

Ian McKee, Open Habitat Ecologist with FLS, said “This funding is a great testament to the quality and range of restoration projects that we have undertaken over the past five years as we work towards restoring over 2,500 hectares of former forestry plantation back to Blanket Bog and Lowland Raised Bog. This hugely important work we are doing is helping secure our carbon stores, and change the peatlands from sources of carbon to carbon sinks. Every site we restore adds value to the scale of the contribution we make to our environment, to biodiversity, water quality, and to the people of Scotland.”  

The work is an integral part of Scotland’s contribution to tackling the global climate emergency, and will help further the Scottish Government pledge to make Scotland a net-zero emissions country by 2045.  

Using a range of techniques developed initially by FLS, Scottish Power Renewables and Forest Research, FLS’s restoration work involves removing trees and ‘re-wetting’ sites, as well as smoothing out the ridge and furrow patterning established when sites were originally planted with trees.


New research shows that at least £3 billion is needed for nature-friendly farming - The Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts, RSPB and National Trust have today called on the UK government to support our farmers and land managers to help restore nature and tackle climate change on their land.

Three of the country’s largest conservation charities have today called on the UK government to put its money where its mouth is – after new figures reveal that at least £3 billion is needed to support our farmers and land managers to help restore nature and tackle climate change on their land.

The UK currently spends around £3.2 billion a year on both farm income support and environmental payments under the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). New data published today reveals that we need to re-invest this money to support nature-friendly farming.

The RSPB, National Trust and The Wildlife Trusts say a long-term financial commitment to pay farmers and land managers is needed if they are to help the UK Government and devolved administrations meet their respective commitments to recover the natural environment and address the climate crisis.

Reaction: CLA responds to 'Nature Friendly' farming report from National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts and RSPB - CLA

Responding to the policy paper by the RSPB, National Trust and Wildlife Trusts, Paying for Public Goods from environmental land management in England, Country Land and Business Association (CLA) President Tim Breitmeyer said: “This is welcome research which builds on previous good work outlining some of the financial costs behind commitments on the environment. The figures are a starting point for any conversation on what a future payment system will look like and supports the CLA’s consistent message that more than the current budget will be needed if we are to support the aspirations of the 25 year environmental plan while boosting productivity. It is also interesting to see advice included in the modelling. The proposed changes to the system are wide-ranging and farmers will require ongoing support to make the most of these new opportunities. It is for this reason that the CLA has called for an additional £200 million a year investment to increase productivity, skills and knowledge throughout the post-Brexit transition period. This is on top of the investment costed in the paper, but it will also ensure environmental gains are realised by helping farmers produce more with less inputs, while boosting resilience and productive capacity across our farming system.”


National Parks need ‘resurgence of nature’ - Yorkshire Dales National Park

Natural England leader Tony Juniper has told the UK National Parks Conference that National Parks need to be “distinctively better” places for nature. 

Addressing delegates at the three-day meeting in the Yorkshire Dales, he said the ‘door was open’ for National Park Authorities to work more closely with Natural England – and that now was ‘an exciting moment to do things in a radically different way’. 

“These places of tranquillity and beauty – National Parks – have become too tranquil.  Thirty years ago there was more bird song, more insects buzzing.  A lot is missing from our landscapes; in many cases the wildlife is seriously depleted.  We need a resurgence of nature in National Parks. The [proposed new] Environmental Land Management system could be a hugely powerful tool to join the dots. The post-war industrialisation and intensification of agriculture - done for good reasons at the time - has caused loss of biodiversity. We should be thinking big – and we need to up the joint-working.”

Natural England Chair Tony Juniper addresses the UK National Parks Conference 2019 (image: Yorkshire Dales NPA)Natural England Chair Tony Juniper addresses the UK National Parks Conference 2019 (image: Yorkshire Dales NPA)

Georgina Umney, a member of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s ‘Tomorrow’s Natural Leaders programme’, spoke about the impact of climate warming and biodiversity loss on her generation:  “The dreams we had growing up - we can’t face them, because of the overwhelming climate crisis,” she said. She spoke of the opportunities for National Park Authorities and other bodies to do more to enable young people to get involved in conservation.  National Parks could feel like ‘stagnant’ places for young people, as they were often marketed as ‘places to visit, not places to touch or influence’.  

Delegates were then shown a video showcasing the special qualities of the Yorkshire Dales National Park view this here: https://youtu.be/nT2sTUv2QmQ


Rare species re-introduced to Delamere Forest - Cheshire Wildlife Trust

A rare plant has recently been re-introduced into our Black Lake Nature Reserve at Delamere Forest after the species only remained at one remnant bog pool at Abbots Moss SSSI.

Lesser Bladderwort (Utricularia minor) is very rare in Cheshire, very sensitive to habitat change and has been lost from many of the peat basins across Cheshire. Black Lake is haven for dragonflies and damselflies, from the impressive hawkers, to delicate darters and the chaser dragonflies.

The plant is a true specialist when it comes to living in harsh environments such as the acidic peat basins where it is usually found. These sites are low in nutrient and to live the plants must adapt. When insects such as zooplankton touch the tiny hairs of the stems they snap shut trapping their prey. These traps close in 0.002 seconds making them one of the fastest living organisms on earth.

Josh Styles from the North West Rare Plant Initiative (NWRPI) who re-introduced the plant on site said: “The one overarching aim of the NWRPI is to secure the prospects of a total of 43 target vascular plant species, declining rapidly/on the brink of extinction in North West England."


Safeguarding Lundy’s fragile nature for generations to come - National Trust

A remote island off the Devon coast that has been transformed from farmland to a rich oasis of wildlife will be protected for another 50 years when a new lease between the National Trust and Landmark Trust is signed this autumn.

Lundy Island is now home to a rich array of more than 21,000 seabirds including puffins and Manx shearwater after a concerted effort to eradicate rats on the rocky outpost.

More than 200 breeding Atlantic grey seals also swim off the shores of the island, that was gifted to the National Trust in 1969.

At that time wildlife was struggling, but the charity joined forces with the Landmark Trust, who took over the day-to-day running of the island in the same year.

Since then, both organisations have done an enormous amount of work to protect and enhance Lundy’s wildlife and heritage. 

Successes include the tripling seabird numbers thanks to an ambitious Seabird Recovery Project, set up by the National Trust, RSPB, Natural England and Landmark Trust in 2002 which made the island rat-free to give the dwindling number of seabirds a chance. 

The island will now be protected for another 50 years once a new lease is signed this autumn, marking a new milestone in Lundy’s story. The 50-year lease solidifies each organisation’s commitment to continuing to care for Lundy, ensuring its special character and the experience which so many cherish can continue for the next half century.


Cut less, cut later – Plantlife releases transformative new national road verge guidelines to increase flowers and pollinators

New national guidelines released today (26 September) underline the huge benefits of road verges being cut less and later for wild flowers and the wildlife they underpin. The Plantlife-led guidelines endorsed by highways agencies, industry and wildlife organisations provide a roadmap to fundamentally transform how 313,500 miles of UK road verges are managed.

Tufted Vetch on a road verge (Plantlife)Tufted Vetch on a road verge (Plantlife)

Many verges are currently cut at least four times a year but the guidelines recommend a two-cut management programme that allows flowers to complete their full lifecycle rather than being cut down in their prime before they are able to set seed. The less and later two-cut approach endorsed by these guidelines would replenish the seed bank, restore floral diversity, save councils money and provide pollinator habitat estimated to equal the size of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff AND Edinburgh combined.

Fresh approaches to road verge management are essential considering there has been a 20% drop in floral diversity on road verges since 1990, partly due to poor or inappropriate management. Red clover and lady's bedstraw, two of the six verge wild flowers that support the highest number of invertebrates - are amongst the plants experiencing the most rapid decline with adverse knock-on effects for wildlife. The marsh fritillary butterfly feeds almost exclusively on devil's-bit scabious, so lives or dies according to the prospects of its food plant.

Given a staggering 97% of wildflower meadows have been eradicated in less than a century, grassland road verges are crucial wildlife habitats: they provide safe haven for over 700 species of wild flowers, nearly 45% of our total flora, including 29 of 52 species of wild orchid including rarities such as lizard orchid.

Plantlife’s new best practise guidance for highway authorities, their contractors and community groups has been produced in collaboration with Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, national highways agencies Highways England, Transport Scotland and Welsh Government, industry bodies Skanska and Kier, and wildlife organisations Butterfly Conservation and The Wildlife Trusts. It provides detailed information and case studies on road verge management and fulfils a recommendation in the UK Government’s National Pollinator Strategy.

Download the Road Verge Management Guide here

This fits in nicely with the recent in-depth article 'Life on the Verge' from Devon County Council Ecologist, Tom Whitlock


Help Our Kelp – Sussex Wildlife Trust

Kelp Forest © Andy JacksonKelps are a type of brown seaweed, usually quite large and known for their ability to grow in dense aggregations, forming what is known as a ‘kelp forest’.

Kelp Forest © Andy Jackson

Along our Sussex coastline, kelp was once quite prolific, particularly along the stretch between Selsey Bill and Shoreham-by-Sea. Accounts from divers and fishers suggest that there was a dense area of kelp along the coast which over time has diminished – most likely due to disturbance by storms and the increased pressure from mechanised fishing techniques. The kelp beds were known to exist up to the 1970s and 80s, when they started to disappear; the Great Storm of 1987 would most likely have played a big role in this.

Kelp provides a number of important ecosystem services, including providing a habitat for other wildlife and a natural sea defence for the coast; it also sequesters carbon out of the atmosphere (arguably more efficiently than terrestrial forests can!). These services are indeed important in their own right, but can also be valued in terms of their natural capital, which is a way of taking stock of the resources in the natural environment which provide benefits to people.

The loss of this extent of kelp over time means these benefits and services have been diminished. Sussex has a proud tradition of restoring rivers and rewilding natural areas; the time is right to consider moving that approach into the marine environment.


Arboriculture, Forestry and Woodland

Delivering the Forestry Strategy for Scotland - Forestry Scotland

Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, today (6 September) announced the formation of a stakeholder reference group to advise on an implementation plan for Scotland’s Forestry Strategy.

The group, consisting of a range of forestry interests, draws on expertise in the economic, environmental and social drivers and benefits identified in the Strategy.

It will provide input to help formulate key delivery milestones, progress indicators and a reporting schedule for the implementation plan, which will help to realise the 50-year vision for forestry set out in the Strategy. 

Mr Ewing said; “The Strategy, which marked the beginning of a new era for forestry in Scotland, clearly sets out our far-sighted vision and ambitions for the future.  Having smashed the planting targets for this year, we are already making progress on delivering those ambitions but forestry can, and will do more. It has a pivotal role in tackling the climate emergency and steering us towards becoming a low carbon economy, in driving forward our rural economy, and in delivering more of the health and social benefits enjoyed by  communities across Scotland. Realising our ambitions will be a national endeavour involving partners and organisations in the public, private and third sectors, whose input into the implementation plan will help to identify what needs to be done, how each of us can best play our part and how we can evidence our actions.”


Ten fantastic trees vying to be England's Tree of the Year – Woodland Trust

Several mighty old oaks dominate the shortlist, including Liverpool’s Allerton Oak that takes pride of place in Calderstones Park, the Isle of Wight’s Dragon Tree which truly is a monster specimen, and London’s Fallen Tree which is a fantastic example of nature beating the odds.

The Isle of Wight's Dragon Tree is the stuff of legends. Photo: Sienna AndersonThe Isle of Wight's Dragon Tree is the stuff of legends. Photo: Sienna Anderson 

But there are also some interesting oddities worthy of winning the title, including Norfolk’s twisted conifer and Colchester Castle’s Sycamore that has been on top of the stronghold since the 1820s.

The Woodland Trust’s annual competition is designed to highlight and celebrate the best trees in the country. Once again it’s being supported by the award winning horticulturalist and TV personality David Domoney.

A carefully chosen panel of eager and knowledgeable judges spent a day debating the positives of hundreds of trees to find the very best trees that England has to offer. Ten visually stunning trees all with wonderful stories have made the shortlist.

We’re asking the public to go online at woodlandtrust.org.uk/treeoftheyear to choose their favourite, to ultimately find England’s Tree of the Year for 2019.

David Domoney said: “The Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year celebrates the marvel and beauty of trees in our country. They are such an important part of our cities and countryside, not only for their beauty, but also for the health benefits they offer to all living creatures. Choosing the one tree that stands out from the rest is a hard decision, take a look for yourself. Vote for your favourite on the Woodland Trust’s website to crown England’s Tree of the Year for 2019.”


Transport Secretary acts on HS2 ancient woodland clearances during Oakervee review - Department for Transport

Removals of ancient woodlands for HS2 stopped during independent review unless they are absolutely necessary to avoid major cost and schedule impacts.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps has today (16 September 2019) ordered that removals of ancient woodlands for HS2 be stopped during the independent review into the project - unless they are shown to be absolutely necessary to avoid major cost and schedule impacts, should the scheme proceed as planned.

The Transport Secretary told HS2 Ltd to review its ancient woodlands clearance programme – and assess what removals can be halted until after the examination of HS2, led by Doug Oakervee, has reported in autumn.

He recognised the concerns of local residents and campaigners that clearing ancient woodland is irreversible.

The Transport Secretary told HS2 Ltd today that these removals will only be allowed during Oakervee’s work if they are shown to be absolutely necessary to prevent major cost and schedule impacts.  

Response: Woodland Trust gives guarded welcome to pausing of ancient woodland removal on HS2
Responding to today's announcement that ancient woodland removal will be paused on the first phase of HS2 pending the outcome of the current review, Woodland Trust ecologist Luci Ryan said:

"This is a welcome step in the right direction for our ancient woodlands, but unfortunately these woods remain threatened as HS2 can still decide for themselves whether works continue or not. Until the outcome of the review all ancient woodlands should be off limits full stop. Our welcome is therefore cautious. We thank all our supporters who have joined us in putting so much pressure on Government to affect this change of heart. The fact the Secretary of State recognises that clearing irreplaceable ancient woodland is irreversible is a huge step in the right direction. We hope HS2 Ltd use this time to consider engineering solutions that could save these irreplaceable habitats."

Ancient woodland is one of our most precious natural habitats. It cannot be moved. It cannot be replaced. It accounts for just 2.4 per cent of land in the UK. Ancient woodlands are highly complex ecological communities that have developed over centuries.

At least 108 ancient woods will be affected by HS2 as a whole. There will be direct loss to at least 63 ancient woods totalling 57.99ha and damage due to noise, vibration, changes to lighting and dust  to a further 47 woods lying on or near the construction boundaries .


HS2 Ltd's approach to ancient woodlands during the Oakervee Review - HS2 Ltd

As highlighted by the Secretary of State, during the Oakervee Review we must strike a sensible balance between keeping the programme on track, and recognising that some works cannot be undone.

We have assessed 11 ancient woodlands, parts of which were due to be affected by preparations to build Britain’s new high speed railway this autumn, during the period of the Oakervee review. Work will now be deferred to Autumn or Winter 2020 on 5 of these sites, and to early 2020 on 6 of the sites. We will also take measures to protect wildlife to ensure they are not affected when work begins in early 2020.

Fox Covert woodland. Credit: Phil Formby / WTMLResponse: HS2 defers all ancient woodland work until after review - Woodland Trust

We are pleased that the Government has today confirmed that work in all ancient woods will be deferred until the completion of its review of HS2, at least.

Fox Covert woodland. Credit: Phil Formby / WTML

Director of Conservation and External Affairs at the Woodland Trust Abi Bunker said: “This is the right decision but it has come very late in the day and only after much pressure from the Woodland Trust and many other organisations and individuals. We remain concerned about the fact that HS2 will still be carrying out some work at these sites. The richness of ancient woodland isn’t just about trees. It’s also the vegetation, the soils and the wildlife that makes ancient woodland a special irreplaceable habitat. Work that permanently affects these habitats like clearing vegetation and evicting bats and mammals must be stopped too while the review is completed. We will monitor the situation very closely.”

Oakervee review

It is vital that the Oakervee review is robust, independent, and evidence-based, focusing on the true environmental costs of HS2.

We will continue to put pressure on Government to ensure this is the case and that any long-term decisions about HS2 take all of the latest evidence into account.


Over half of Europe’s endemic trees face extinction - IUCN

Over half (58%) of Europe’s endemic trees are threatened with extinction, according to assessments of the state of the continent’s biodiversity published today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The introduction of invasive species, unsustainable logging and urban development are key threats causing the decline of tree species such as the horse-chestnut across Europe.

The newly published European Red List of Trees evaluated the conservation status of all 454 tree species native to the continent, and found that two fifths (42%) are regionally threatened with extinction. Among Europe’s endemic trees – those that don’t exist anywhere else on earth – 58% were found to be threatened, and 15% (66 species) assessed as Critically Endangered, or one step away from going extinct. Invasive and problematic native species are the largest threat to European trees. These include pests and diseases but also invasive plants introduced by humans which compete with native tree saplings.

“It is alarming that over half of Europe’s endemic tree species are now threatened with extinction. Trees are essential for life on earth, and European trees in all their diversity are a source of food and shelter for countless animal species such as birds and squirrels, and play a key economic role. From the EU to regional assemblies and the conservation community, we all need to work together to ensure their survival,” said Craig Hilton-Taylor, Head of the IUCN Red List Unit. “Perhaps most importantly, measures for conserving these threatened species, and many other overlooked species highlighted in today’s European Red List assessments, need to be integrated into regular conservation planning and land management.”


Animal and wildlife news.

PM launches new action plan to save the natural world - Defra, DFID, Prime Minister's office

PM to launch new biodiversity fund dedicated to saving the world’s most endangered animals.

A new £220 million fund to save endangered animals such as the black rhino, African elephant, snow leopard and Sumatran tiger from extinction will be unveiled by Prime Minister Boris Johnson today (23 September).

Speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York the Prime Minister will call for urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity as part of global efforts to tackle the drivers and impact of climate change.

Black rhinoceros (Ron Porter / pixabay)Black rhinoceros (Ron Porter / pixabay)

The Prime Minister will warn that precious habitats and species are disappearing from our planet faster than at any other time in human history. The world’s animal populations have declined by almost two thirds in the last 50 years, and around a million species now face extinction – many within decades.

The UK’s new International Biodiversity Fund will protect these animals and more by backing projects aimed at halting the unprecedented loss of habitats and species and saving those most at risk. The £220 million announced today is the first investment in the Fund, with more funding to be unveiled, and builds on the UK’s world-leading reputation on this agenda.

The fund will also deploy UK expertise around the world to help local communities protect species under threat and preserve their natural habitats, through a significant scale-up of the UK’s Darwin Initiative. Previous Darwin projects have helped save the critically-endangered spoon-billed sandpiper from extinction and rescued hundreds of highly-endangered big-headed turtles from traffickers.

The new UK funding will also be used to create pioneering ‘green corridors’ in global biodiversity hotspots, which aim to prevent the loss of species by protecting and restoring habitats that have been threatened by human activity. This could help 250,000 elephants in the KAZA region of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe migrate safely from one reserve to another along a new ‘elephant corridor’.

The Prime Minister has been clear that biodiversity and climate change are two sides of the same coin and must be addressed in tandem if we’re to protect the planet for future generations. At the UN today he will call for greater global action to address these twin threats.



Rare tern breeds on the Isle of May - Scottish Natural Heritage

An extremely rare seabird has raised its chick on the Isle of May this summer – a clear sign that conservation action on the national nature reserve is working.

An adult roseate tern joined common, sandwich and Arctic tern colonies on the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) reserve in early June and paired with a common tern. The unlikely couple produced a single chick which successfully fledged in early August.

Dr Chris Redfern and Bex Outram SNH with Hybrid chick (credit SNH/David Steel)Dr Chris Redfern and Bex Outram SNH with Hybrid chick (credit SNH/David Steel)

Roseate terns are on the Red Data list as a species of high conservation concern.

No other roseate terns currently breed in Scotland. The only colony in the U.K. is in Northumberland, with single pairs in North Wales.

David Steel, SNH Nature Reserve Manager, explained, “We started constructing the first tern terraces on the island to help increase nesting habitat for terns in 2015. Over the last three years, we’ve increased both arctic and common tern breeding numbers, while also attracting sandwich terns back to the island. But this year, we have gone one better with this stunning roseate tern. Providing the right habitat and safe nesting sites for roseate terns is a major breakthrough. Although this year’s chick is the result of a hybrid pair, we will hopefully attract a pair of roseates in the next few years and bring another species back to Scotland as a regular breeder.”


Booming year for bitterns - RSPB

Record year for booming bitterns

Britain’s loudest bird has battled extinction not once but twice.

(credit: Andy Hay)Bitterns completely disappeared from Britain in the 1870s. Although the shy bird with a booming voice made a comeback in the 20th century, bitterns were back at the brink of extinction by 1997 when numbers dropped to just 11 males.

(credit: Andy Hay)

Two EU-funded projects helped revive bittern (a type of heron) numbers once again. This year the RSPB is celebrating the bitterns’ best year since records began, with over 100 male booming bitterns recorded on the charity’s reserves for the first time and almost 200 across the UK.

Despite its claim to fame as Britain’s loudest bird, bitterns are highly secretive. With their well camouflaged, pale, buffy-brown plumage, bitterns spend most of their time hiding in dense stands of reed and are so elusive scientists count them by listening for the males’ distinctive booming call.

Simon Wotton, RSPB Senior Conservation Scientist, said: “Bitterns are one of our most charismatic birds. Their astonishing recovery from the brink of extinction is a real conservation success story and example of what is possible through targeted efforts to restore wildlife habitat.

“It’s a delight to hear their distinctive booming call echoing across the reedbeds every year as more and more bitterns are making new or restored wetlands their home.”

Since 2006, there has been a year-on-year increase in the number of bitterns making their home in Britain. This year numbers reached record levels once more with 198 males recorded at 89 sites. This compares to 188 at 82 sites in 2018.


Weekend of activity to tackle bird of prey persecution - North Yorkshire Police

logo: Operation owlThis weekend (21 – 22 September) North Yorkshire will be leading a national Operation Owl awareness campaign to seek the public’s support in tackling illegal bird of prey persecution.

Activity across the weekend aims to raise public awareness of bird of prey persecution – how to spot the signs, record any instances and report it to the police.

Launched in February 2018, Operation Owl is a joint initiative by North Yorkshire Police, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA), together with the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. The initiative set out to raise awareness of raptor persecution, encouraging the public to be vigilant for signs of this criminal activity, and to report suspicious activity to the police.

In June this year, Operation Owl was rolled out nationally and this awareness weekend will be the first event of its kind outside of North Yorkshire.

More than 25 police forces across the length and breadth of the UK are currently signed up to take part in awareness raising activity, joining with North Yorkshire to take a stand against bird of prey persecution.

Head of the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit, Chief Inspector Lou Hubble OBE, said: "Tackling Raptor Persecution is a UK Wildlife Crime Priority.  I am deeply frustrated that we continue to see some of our most iconic birds being persecuted including Golden eagles, Red kites, Buzzards and Goshawks.  It's 2019 and here in the UK Hen Harriers are close to extinction through continued persecution.  We need to make these crimes socially unacceptable in all communities.  Please be our eyes and ears on the ground and report anything suspicious to the Police."

For more information about Operation Owl, and what to look out for in identifying bird of prey persecution, please visit www.operationowl.com


Long-term future of corncrakes in Scotland increasingly uncertain – RSPB

This year’s numbers fall to 870.

The 2019 survey results for corncrakes, one of Scotland’s rarest breeding birds, reinforce the vulnerability of the species RSPB Scotland has warned. Only 870 calling male corncrakes were recorded in the core areas that are annually surveyed this summer, down from 897 in 2018.

The alarmingly low figure means that in the last five years since the 2014 high of 1,282 calling males the population has decreased by over 30 percent. While numbers in the Outer Hebrides have increased overall in 2019 compared to 2018, this has been offset by declines elsewhere including overall across the Inner Hebrides in the same period.

The persistent low numbers over the last five years show that corncrakes are struggling to recover with their long-term survival as a breeding species in Scotland under threat. At the moment, corncrakes are helped largely through agri-environment schemes, where farmers and crofters are paid to ensure that there is good habitat for the birds. The continuation of such agri-environment support for Scotland’s farmers and crofters is vital to ensure the corncrake’s survival in Scotland, and also benefits other species.

RSPB Scotland is developing a new project to help secure the future of these birds in Scotland. Saving Corncrakes through Advocacy, Land management and Education (SCALE) was awarded over £30,000 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in August 2018 to further develop the project, ahead of applying for a full grant later this year.


Satellite data reveals Hen Harriers soaring over England – The Moorland Association

Satellite data from an innovative scheme to help boost England’s Hen Harrier population has shed new light on the activities of the birds at the centre of the initiative.

Five Hen Harriers which fledged this summer were fitted with satellite tags as part of a trial of a brood management scheme in which a brood was removed from the moors and transferred to the ‘Ritz’ of raptor rearing facilities. There they were reared in pens before being relocated to moors in the north of England where they were released.

The data from the satellite tagged harriers give conservationists an insight into the flying habits of the iconic bird, an invaluable tool as part of the government-led action plan to boost the harrier population.

One of the male Hen Harriers has travelled close to 1800 miles since it was tagged, averaging approximately 55 miles per day. The bird travelled as far west to the coast of southern Ireland, went on to  Southampton, London and then up to Wales before returning to the north.

The other birds all have all remained closer to home in the north of England.

Two of the birds’ tags have currently stopped transmitting, raising obvious concerns regarding their wellbeing. Investigations are underway to establish the whereabouts of the birds. The tags are solar powered, which can result in stretches of time where no data is transmitted, and have malfunctioned in the past with tagged birds being spotted from the ground or the transmitter suddenly retransmitting.

Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association, which is a partner in the brood management scheme trial, said: “This data provides a fascinating insight into the behaviour of these captive-reared young harriers. They appear to have integrated very well and their behaviour seems the same as totally wild tagged harriers. Most of the birds have been content to fly around the uplands and grouse moors which is territory they know and like. The adventures of the bird which travelled further afield are extraordinary and show that the species is quite capable of covering vast distances. Moorland Association members are enthusiastic participants in this scheme and extensive efforts are ongoing to trace the two birds which have stopped transmitting. The areas to search are massive over difficult moorland terrain hunting for a well camouflaged bird the size of a big crow. Whilst it is expected that at least 50% of birds will succumb to natural causes of death in the first 6 months we very much hope to find the birds alive or at least find them to establish cause of death.”



Defra responds to Wild Justice challenge: releasing gamebirds on protected sites - Defra

Defra will review the way in which the release of gamebirds on or near protected sites in England is managed following a proposed legal challenge.

The way in which the release of gamebirds on or near protected sites (Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation) in England is managed will be reviewed following a proposed legal challenge, Defra has today (11 September 2019) confirmed.

This will not result in any immediate changes for owners or occupiers of land.

In response to a pre-action protocol (PAP) letter from Wild Justice, Defra accepted in principle the annual release of non-native gamebirds, specifically the Common Pheasant and Red-legged Partridge, can be considered a ‘plan or project’ requiring appropriate assessment within the meaning of the Habitats Directive.

While not accepting the argument that current laws do not provide for appropriate assessment in such cases, Defra proposes to undertake a review to consider the legislative arrangements around the relevant activities and whether there are ways in which their effectiveness could be improved. The detail of this review will be developed over the coming weeks.


General licences: survey marks new phase of review - defra / Natural England

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers launches public survey as part of planned review of general licences to manage wild birds in England.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers today (12 September) launched a public survey as part of a planned review of general licences to manage wild birds in England.

The aim of the review is to ensure the licensing system is robust, striking the right balance between the protection of wild birds and the activities people such as landowners and farmers need to carry out for specific purposes, such as protecting livestock or crops and for conservation purposes. Defra is leading this review in close partnership with Natural England.

As a first step, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers has launched a 12-week online survey to gather evidence on the control that stakeholders consider is required under general licence. This is one strand of the review, with a series of stakeholder workshops also planned to run in parallel.

In parallel with the survey, Defra and Natural England will be conducting a series of workshops with interested groups in the autumn, covering particular topics such as activity on protected sites.

General licences for wild birds: survey on management measures in England - defra / Natural England consultation

Seeking views on what general licences to kill or take wild birds should cover. We're also asking for evidence on issues like record keeping.
This survey is seeking views and evidence on how we should use general licences for wild birds. In particular, how they should be used to:

  • kill or take wild birds to conserve wild birds and to conserve flora (plants) and fauna (other animals)
  • kill or take wild birds to preserve public health or public safety
  • kill or take wild birds to prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters

The consultation closes at: 11:45pm on 5 December 2019, take part here.


Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has released details of new general licences to control some wild birds in Wales. - Natural Resources Wales

The licences themselves will be published on NRW’s website on Monday 7 October and this follows a two-week window which will allow licence holders to consider which of the new licences they will need.

The new licences mean that people who need to use lethal methods to control wild birds can do so legally – and they will need to make sure they comply with the new licences as the old ones will no longer be valid from the 7 October. They could be breaking the law if they kill or take birds using their old general licences.

All wild birds are protected by law, but in certain circumstances lethal controls can be used when all other non-lethal options have failed or been proven not to work.

However, legal advice showed the old licences were not lawful and had to be changed.

The licensing system has two main strands – general licences and specific licences.

General licences can be used to control bird species to protect public health and safety, to prevent serious agricultural damage and disease, and to protect other wildlife. These will continue to be the licences most people use.

The main change to the general licences is that users no longer need to confirm that they have tried all other non-lethal methods of control because NRW, after reviewing all the evidence, is now satisfied that no other methods work effectively in these circumstances.

On the 7 October 2019, we will make some important changes to general licences for wild bird control. We have removed some bird species and changed the activities covered by the licence. We recommend that users review the new licences so that they understand the changes.


Game management doesn’t disturb endangered species, GWCT study finds – Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Species of conservation concern, including rare woodland plants and butterflies, are not negatively affected by game management, a new study has found.

Ecologists from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), a leading research charity in Fordingbridge, discovered the findings in The effect of game management on the conservation value of woodland rides.

They surveyed 139 woods across two regions - southern and eastern. Sites in the southern region were in Hampshire and South Wessex, while sites were located in the Anglian Plain, Breckland, Suffolk coast and Heaths natural areas in the eastern region.

Approximately half of these woods were actively managed for game, while the other half hadn’t been for the past 25 years.

In each wood, they measured the amount and size of the ride habitat, selected the widest ride in the wood, assessed the level of disturbance from footfall or vehicles, and recorded the percentage cover of different plant groups and the number of plant species.

They then took these measurements at different locations within the ride (central, ride side and wood edge) to see the effects of game management varied between on these different locations and counted the number of species in the shrub community. Finally, they surveyed the butterfly community of the ride. These measurements were used to compare the ride habitat between game and non-game woods.

Findings showed the overall amount of ride habitat was not greater in woods managed for game, but the rides present were 20% wider and more open.

Lucy Capstick, a research ecologist at GWCT and lead author on the paper, said: “Overall, game management did not have a consistently negative effect on species of conservation concern, with the abundance of butterflies and richness of ancient woodland indicator species unaffected by game management.”

To read the paper in full, click here


Coast and marine

4,896 marine mammals stranded on UK coast in seven years - ZSL

Report reveals causes of UK stranded porpoise, dolphin and whale deaths highlighting infectious disease and bycatch in fishing gear

 Sperm whale stranded in Pegwell Bay - image credit CSIP / ZSLSperm whale stranded in Pegwell Bay (image: CSIP / ZSL) 

A total of 4,896 harbour porpoises, dolphins and whales (cetaceans) were reported washed up on UK shorelines between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2017, according to a seven-year review published today (6 September 2019) by the UK Government and led by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London). 

Over the reporting period, researchers from the collaborative UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) recorded 21 different cetacean species – nearly one quarter of the total currently known to science – as well as six species of marine turtle and several species of large bodied sharks. The CSIP documented the highest number of strandings in a single year since the programme began in 1990, with more than 1,000 reported in 2017. The team also investigated several large-scale mass stranding events involving multiple animals, including one on 22 July 2011, in the Kyle of Durness, Scotland where 70 long-finned pilot whales stranded together. 

ZSL’s Rob Deaville, cetologist and report lead said: “We routinely produce reports like this for Defra and the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales, who co-fund the programme and 4,896 is an increase of about 15% on the previous seven-year period. It’s difficult to say conclusively what’s driven this rise, but it’s potentially associated with multiple causes, including increases in local reporting effort and seasonal variation in the population density of some species.”

 Researchers also conducted 1,030 post-mortem examinations over the period of the report, to identify why individual animals had died. Infectious disease and incidental entanglement in fishing gear - also known as bycatch - were two of the most common findings, although the likelihood of a particular cause of death varied between species. For example, bycatch accounted for 23% of common dolphin deaths and 14% of harbour porpoise deaths. Others caused directly by humans included 25 animals killed by ship-strike and a single Cuvier’s beaked whale that suffered a gastric impaction following the ingestion of marine litter in 2015. 

Download the full report (PDF) 


OWSMRF - Working together to understand the impact of offshore wind energy on marine birds - JNCC

© Matt ParsonsWith UK offshore wind ambitions set to increase by 2030, an industry-led forum to better understand how large-scale development may impact marine birds was launched today.

The Offshore Wind Strategic Monitoring and Research Forum (OWSMRF) led by six offshore wind developers – EDF-Renewables, Equinor, Innogy, Ørsted, ScottishPower Renewables, and Vattenfall – is being delivered by JNCC.

© Matt Parsons

With UK offshore wind power to increase capacity to 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, there is a need to better understand the potential impact of such development on marine birds. OWSMRF will enable government nature conservation advisors, NGOs, experts and regulators to highlight critical knowledge gaps to developers. This collaborative approach will help to identify, prioritise and develop further research and evidence. In its pilot year the focus will be on marine birds, specifically kittiwakes.

JNCC’s Director of Marine, John Goold, said: “This forum offers a unique opportunity to rapidly identify and progress high quality research that will facilitate future offshore wind development while ensuring long-term sustainable use of the marine environment. We are looking forward to the opportunities this pilot year brings.”


Wildlife and wind farms: Are British gulls staying safe in the winter sun? – BTO

New research by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology, shows that Lesser Black-backed Gulls breeding in Britain could be vulnerable to collisions with wind turbines whilst on migration and during the winter months, as well as during the breeding season.

Lesser Black-backed Gull, by Gary Clewley / BTOLesser Black-backed Gull, by Gary Clewley / BTO

There are now estimated to be more than 341,000 wind turbines installed and spinning on the planet as part of global initiatives to tackle carbon emissions. It is important to understand how these structures might affect wildlife. In this study, BTO researchers fitted state-of-the art GPS tags to Lesser Black-backed Gulls breeding at three major UK colonies in order to track their movements throughout the year. By combining the data from the tags with information on wind turbine locations they were able to establish how vulnerable this species might be to collisions.
The GPS devices recorded how fast and how high birds fly, as well as the time birds spent in particular areas. This information was used to estimate the risk of birds colliding with wind turbines when flying at altitudes swept by the turbines’ blades. The results showed that Lesser Black-backed Gulls are vulnerable during the breeding season, when birds are tied to feeding areas close to their colonies, many of which are also in the vicinity of wind farms. Furthermore, the scientists also found the birds to be at risk once the breeding season is over and they disperse south to Spain, Portugal and north Africa, where they overwinter.
Dr Chris Thaxter, Senior Research Ecologist at the BTO and the paper’s lead author, said “We knew that Lesser Black-backed Gulls were at risk of colliding with wind turbines, but what we didn’t know was where and when birds from specific breeding colonies may be most vulnerable across their annual life cycle. The fact that we have been able to answer some of these questions is testimony to the advances in tracking technology we have seen in recent years. Mapping vulnerability to collision risk in this way can also help identify where may be best to site new wind farms in the future to minimise any harm to wildlife.”

Access the paper: Thaxter, C. B. et al.  Avian vulnerability to wind farm collision through the year: Insights from lesser black-backed gulls (Larus fuscus) tracked from multiple breeding colonies. (open access) Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13488


Community pulls together to safeguard seals – Scottish Natural Heritage

Grey Seal bull resting ©Lorne GIll/SNHScottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has teamed up with a local community to help people enjoy one of Scotland’s best wildlife spectacles responsibly.

Up to 2,000 grey seals haul out on the sand banks of the Ythan at Forvie National Nature Reserve (NNR) to rest, creating a wonderful opportunity for wildlife watching.

Concerns have frequently been raised about the potential for the seals to be disturbed by visitors walking down the north shore of the river.  Past incidents have resulted in hundreds of seals rushing into the water which is both detrimental to the seals and spoils the experience for others.

Grey Seal bull resting ©Lorne GIll/SNH

In response to these concerns, SNH is working with the newly formed Newburgh and Ythan Community Trust and other local partners to improve the car park, paths and viewing points on the Newburgh beach side of the Ythan, near the haul out site.

From this location wildlife lovers have the best view of the seals across the river while also ensuring that they are not scared off the beach.

David Pickett, SNH’s Forvie nature reserve manager, said: “Seeing thousands of seals hauled up together on the beach is truly amazing and we’d encourage people to experience this unforgettable encounter with nature.

“We’ve been working with the local community over the last few years to help people enjoy this spectacle without disturbing the seals. Further improvements will make it even easier for people to find the best place to see the seals.”



Badger cull expansion makes no sense - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Defra has announced an expansion to the badger culls in Cornwall and horrifyingly, 83% of Cornwall is now in a badger cull zone.

Badger by Richard Birchett This is one of ten new badger cull areas covering a huge area across the UK. The culls are Government policy and are being carried out by cull companies in an effort to reduce TB in cattle. However, opinion is divided on how effective the culls are and whether they should be happening at all. There is huge frustration amongst wildlife groups because badger vaccination, which is a viable alternative, is not being sufficiently recognised or funded by Defra.

Badger by Richard Birchett

Cheryl Marriott, Head of Conservation at Cornwall Wildlife Trust says, “The cull expansion is hard to stomach. We have shown in Cornwall that roll-out of badger vaccination in partnership with farmers is practical and viable and we are here ready and willing to expand it. Vaccination is in everyone’s interest and is supported by the public who are ultimately the customers of our farmers. Why continue to drive a wedge between the farming community and the wider public with more badger culls when we have a non-lethal alternative ready to go?”

Cornwall Wildlife Trust has already started to vaccinate badgers on their nature reserves and in an area of mid-Cornwall in partnership with farmers. There is also a vaccination programme happening in Penwith led by Zoological Society of London. These vaccination programmes will continue and the Trust would like to hear from farmers and landowners who are interested in joining them. 


Mid & East Antrim sees red as new squirrels make coastal country park home - Mid & East Antrim Borough Council

Carnfunnock Country Park is to become a haven for red squirrels as the furry friends are reintroduced in a bid to boost numbers across Northern Ireland.

Image: Mid and East Antrim Borough CouncilImage: Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

Despite being present in Ireland for more than 10,000 years, red squirrels have declined dramatically due to loss of habitat and diseases spread by the invasive grey squirrel.

But a local environmental group alongside Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, and Cairndhu Golf Club are hoping to change this by reintroducing the animals with a special immersive, woodland enclosure at Carnfunnock Country Park on the famous Antrim Coast.

Ballygally Biodiversity Group have been working tirelessly for the past four years to not only raise awareness around the issues facing reds, but to get involved in this special breeding programme by Belfast Zoo and to secure this stunning location for the release.

Joe Dowdall from the group hopes this project will bring a resurgence of reds back to this part of County Antrim: “We are delighted to release these animals here at Carnfunnock Country Park. People have fond memories of walking through this same woodland as kids and enjoying watching red squirrels, and hopefully now the future generations to come can also experience this as the population reinstates itself here. We have already seen success in Glenarm where the first pilot scheme was introduced and this is just another step forward in our mission to ensure the conservation of this beautiful, native species.


"Thermal Imaging: Bat Survey Guidelines" published - Bat Conservation Trust

Dr Kayleigh Fawcett has recently published guidelines in association with Bat Conservation Trust on Thermal Imaging for Bat Surveys. These are primarily intended for use by ecological consultants surveying for bats; however, the methods described can also be applied to bat conservation and research. The document is also intended to inform those assessing and evaluating the results of thermal imaging bat surveys, including local government ecologists, planning officers and government officials, among others. One of the aims of this document is to give stakeholders a better understanding of thermal imaging, and how it can and should be applied, in order to create meaningful survey results. Cllick here to download a copy


The results are in and they’re looking red – Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) has undertaken its eighth annual squirrel monitoring programme.

Red Squirrel. Image by: Steve Wrightson.Once again, over 170 people were involved in this massive citizen science project surveying woodlands and gardens across the north of England between March and May. 86% of surveys were carried out by volunteers.

Red Squirrel. Image by: Steve Wrightson

The surveys involved a mix of trail cameras, feeders in gardens and walks through forests to record squirrels spotted.

In addition, the programme also gathered data from multiple sources: sightings reported by the public, RSNE staff and records submitted by local squirrel groups.

Results were positive overall, with red squirrels recorded in 43% of sites - a 1% rise on last year’s result. Grey squirrels were found in 46% of sites, down 2% compared to 2018.

The team was able to produce a red squirrel distribution map which pinpoints records of reds in 440 2 x 2km squares within the three month period, filling in gaps in distribution.

The surveys take place in ‘red squirrel counties’ across northern England, where wild red squirrels can still be found: in Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, North Yorkshire, Lancashire, Merseyside and parts of County Durham.

Surveys are completed within areas where red squirrel conservation is carried out by project teams, such as Red Squirrels Northern England, and by local community red squirrel groups under the banner of Northern Red Squirrels.

A full copy of the report and a summary can be viewed at rsne.org.uk/squirrel-monitoring-programme.


Pine martens reintroduced to England – The Wildlife Trusts

Pine martens have been reintroduced to England for the first time following near extinction. Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has led this first formal reintroduction of a charismatic species, once a familiar feature of English woodlands – but which had been reduced to a population of fewer than 20.

Pine Marten, (c) Terry Whittaker 2020VISIONPine Marten, (c) Terry Whittaker 2020VISION

18 pine martens have now been reintroduced into the Forest of Dean – the aim is to establish a source population to support the recovery of this mammal. The last official recording of a pine marten in the Forest of Dean was 1860 and the species is believed to have been absent from the area since then.

From the same family as otters and weasels, pine martens were once common among British wildlife. Similar in size to a domestic cat, with slim bodies, brown fur and a distinctive cream ‘bib’ on their throats, they have long, bushy tails and prominent rounded ears.

Extensive hunting, however, together with the loss of the woodlands pine martens once called home, resulted in near extinction in England. Historically, they were pushed to the more remote parts of the UK, becoming Britain's second-rarest native carnivore. Eventually, their only remaining stronghold was in the north-west Highlands of Scotland.

Between August and September this year, 18 pine martens were moved from Scotland to Gloucestershire, fitted with tracking collars and released into the Forest.

Under the watchful eye of Dr. Catherine McNicol, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Project Manager, the pine martens’ activity will be closely monitored.

“Pine martens are elusive and shy animals, with their presence often only indicated by scats in the middle of forestry tracks. They only give birth to a few kits each year if breeding is even successful, so the rate of marten population recovery in the UK is low. It is hoped that their protection, alongside these reintroductions, will give them the boost they need to become resilient and thrive” comments Dr. McNicol.


Invertebrates and herpetology

The Year of the Painted Lady - Butterfly Conservation 

In just three weeks this summer, nearly half a million Painted Lady butterflies were counted as part of the 10th UK-wide Big Butterfly Count, run by Butterfly Conservation and sponsored by B&Q.  The wildlife charity can confirm that 2019 has been a ‘Painted Lady Year’ – a natural phenomenon that happens about once in a decade, when unusually high numbers of this migratory butterfly arrive in the UK.

Painted Lady butterfly (image: AndrewCooper / Butterfly Conservation)Painted Lady butterfly (image: AndrewCooper / Butterfly Conservation)

It is too early to tell how 2019 compares to the last ‘Painted Lady Year’ in 2009, but the number seen in this year’s Big Butterfly Count was almost 30 times greater than in the 2018 survey, equating to an increase per Count of 2498% on the year before. 

Several other common species have experienced a bumper summer, helped by the fine weather. 

The Peacock had its best summer since 2014, with counts up a massive 235% on last year. The Marbled White experienced a 264% increase and there was a 64% rise in counts for the colourful red and black Six-spot Burnet moth. 

Populations of Red Admiral and Gatekeeper were up 138% and 95% respectively compared to the same period last year and the beleaguered Small Tortoiseshell had its best Big Butterfly Count result since 2014, with around 70,000 spotted this summer. 

Despite this, scientists remain concerned about the Small Tortoiseshell’s long-term future - this once common and widespread butterfly has declined by 78% since the 1970s.

The Big Butterfly Count results can be found at www.bigbutterflycount.org and these will be used by scientists to see how the UK’s common species are faring and where to target future conservation work.


Project to protect native White-clawed crayfish in Derbyshire - Environment Agency

A partnership project to conserve native white-clawed crayfish in Derbyshire has completed its second successful year with the removal of 2,000 non-native invasive signal crayfish from Markeaton Lake in Derby – double the amount it removed in 2018.

The Signal Crayfish Removal Project led by the National Trust, aims to support the recovery of white-clawed crayfish by preventing signal crayfish from expanding into the upstream Markeaton Brook and Kedleston Lakes where the native species are known to be found. Native white-clawed crayfish have been in decline since non-native American signal crayfish escaped into UK waters in the 1970s. These larger, invasive crayfish outcompete native species for food and habitat and carry a disease fatal to the UK species.

Louise Hill, Biodiversity Officer at the Environment Agency in the East Midlands said: “Last year the project in Markeaton Lake saw the capture of around 1,000 signal crayfish. This year we have doubled this to 2,000, which is a great result. After two years there are indications that the numbers and size of the non-native crayfish are reducing. We have been working with the National Trust, Derby City Council, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Earl of Harrington Angling Club, University of Derby and Nottingham Trent University and next year sees the final year of the project. While the signs of change are encouraging, we still have a long way to go until we are satisfied that our native crayfish populations are fully protected. We are also looking at a number of measures to further secure the future of the White-clawed crayfish, including the creation of ‘ark’ sites to relocate them to areas where they will be free from invaders.”


Rare sand lizards released back into the wild - Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust

Children from Puddletown First School and Cheselbourne School in Dorset assisted conservationists in giving the UK's rarest lizard a helping hand. 

Sand lizard (image: ARC Trust)Sand lizard (image: ARC Trust)

They released 84 sand lizards at the heath within Puddletown Forest in Dorset, bringing the total number released in the current programme to 10,000. This work is part of an ongoing partnership to restore the species to its former range.

This was the final of the three programmed releases to reintroduce the species.

Future work will include surveys to see how the animals are doing. The surveys are a long-term process to see if the animals are breeding and gradually starting to increase their range through time. As the heaths are very well managed for all of the native plants and animals we are certain that the sand lizards will also do very well.


Brilliant Butterflies Project – Butterfly Conservation

Croydon to host cutting-edge butterfly habitat restoration project, creating butterfly havens for residents to enjoy.

Over the next two years, Brilliant Butterflies will create new homes for butterflies and insects through the creation and restoration of chalk grassland, a rare and threatened habitat many species thrive in.
London Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation and the Natural History Museum will be working together with volunteers and local communities to create chalk grassland ‘Living Landscapes’ that will come alive with butterflies, wildflowers and insects.
This is also an excellent opportunity for residents to volunteer and work alongside specialist scientists to survey the areas using pioneering environmental DNA analysis technology and capture data about chalk grassland wildlife, as well as learn new skills in conservation, all whilst spending quality time outdoors.
Up to 40 new butterfly havens will be created on and adjacent to existing London Wildlife Trust reserves as well as in community greenspaces in south Croydon and Bromley such as housing estates, parks and road verges; enabling residents to experience a snapshot of chalk grassland habitat, and the diversity of species it supports, in everyday places.
Many butterflies and insects are in serious trouble and the State of the UK’s Butterflies 2015 report evidenced that 76% of species have declined over the last 40 years. Research by Butterfly Conservation, the University of Kent and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) has since found that this decline is worse in urban than rural areas.


UK's rarest amphibian given a head start - Amphibian and Reptile Conservation  

The UK’s rarest amphibian is taking a huge leap forward thanks to scientists behind a pioneering breeding programme.

The pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae) became extinct in the UK in the 1990s but it was reintroduced to a site in Norfolk between 2005 and 2008 by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC).

Now the wildlife charity has carried out a ground-breaking scheme to increase the animal’s population. 

The ‘head-starting’ project uses a conservation technique for endangered species in which spawn or young tadpoles are raised in captivity and subsequently released into the wild.  This allows a greater proportion to survive the riskiest part of their life-cycle away from predators or losses to other natural causes.

Spawn was collected from the original pool frog site in June 2019.  The resulting tadpoles were reared in laboratory conditions over the summer and released into ponds at Thompson Common, the last-known refuge for pool frogs before their extinction and a site where previous experimental releases have shown promise. Norfolk Wildlife Trust, which owns and manages Thompson Common, has created fantastic conditions for pool frogs by restoring ancient ponds. ARC hopes that the programme will succeed in building on the first reintroductions and increase the number of pool frogs living in the wild.


Holy Grail of moth recording reappears in Britain - Butterfly Conservation

Numerous recent sightings of a moth that became extinct in the UK in the 1960s, suggest that it has recolonised and is now breeding across southern Britain.

Clifden Nonpareil credit Andrew Cooper, Butterfly ConservationThe Clifden Nonpareil, whose name means ‘beyond compare’, is one of the largest and most spectacular moths native to our shores.

Clifden Nonpareil credit Andrew Cooper, Butterfly Conservation

With a wingspan that can reach almost 12cm and a bright blue stripe across its black hindwings (which gives rise to an alternative name of the Blue Underwing), this species has long been regarded as a holy grail among moth enthusiasts.

Immigrant moths from continental Europe appear to have re-established breeding colonies of this impressive insect in recent years, in south coast counties of England.

People are being asked to look for this moth and record any sightings as part of the annual Moth Night, an event run every year by Atropos, Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. This year the event celebrates its 20th anniversary.

As part of this coming Moth Night on 26-28 September 2019 dedicated moth recorders and members of the public are being asked to survey moths and to submit their sightings via the website. Public events are also being held across the country to raise awareness of the importance and beauty of moths.


Northumberland launches strategy to protect white-clawed crayfish – Environment Agency

Strategy will help to preserve this threatened species in the future

Ian Marshall holding two white-clawed crayfish during the strategy launch (Image credit: Sound Ideas/Environment Agency)Ian Marshall holding two white-clawed crayfish during the strategy launch (Image credit: Sound Ideas/Environment Agency)

On Friday September 27th the banks of the River Wansbeck in Northumberland played host to the launch of a strategy that aims to help protect one of the region’s best loved resident species.

The Northumberland Crayfish Conservation Steering Group has unveiled a new ‘Crayfish Area Conservation Strategy’ on the grounds of Meldon Park in Northumberland.

The strategy was developed by the Northumberland Catchment Partnership and will be delivered by the Northumberland Crayfish Conservation Steering Group. This group is made up of the following partnership organisations: the Environment Agency, Northumberland Rivers Trust, National Trust, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Northumbrian Water Group, Northumberland County Council, Tyne Rivers Trust, and Northumberland National Park Authority.

Northumberland is incredibly lucky to have some of the best populations of white-clawed crayfish in the country. This is the only species of freshwater crayfish native to the UK.

The species provides food for otters, fish and herons whilst also being responsible for helping to break down leaf litter and plant growth.

However, the species is at risk of being lost from the region and the strategy looks to help conserve one of the most threatened species in the UK.

The two-page strategy lays out a framework that will hopefully ensure the freshwater crayfish stays a resident in the region for years to come.
The strategy aims to improve our knowledge and better understand of the current distribution and status of freshwater crayfish in Northumberland, and improve our understanding of threats to the remaining populations, agree priorities and take appropriate actions.


The next story blasts us to the past; it’s great to hear that CJ Snail species are being returned to the wild, our original featured charity CJS adopted a Partula snail at Jersey Zoo - Durrell Wildlife until 2015.

Find out more about CJ Snail here  

Two Extinct-in-the-Wild Partula snail species returned to the wild for first time in 25 years – ZSL

Two Extinct-in-the-Wild species of tropical snail have been returned to their native homeland for the first time in French Polynesia, 25 years after they were wiped out by a human-introduced invasive species.

A partula snail is returned to the wild (Zoological Society of London)A partula snail is returned to the wild (Zoological Society of London)

International conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) worked with other leading zoos and the French Polynesian Government to coordinate a conservation breeding programme – involving the progeny of the last individuals found in the Society Islands in the 1990s. 

This year, the reintroduction focused on two species, Partula rosea and Partula varia, with several thousand being carefully transported over 15,000km from Chester Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in the UK to the French Polynesian Islands. 

Part of the world’s largest reintroduction programme, with a total of 14 different snail species and sub-species being reintroduced over the last five years – Huahine and Moorea in the Society Islands are now 4,159 snails stronger this year, thanks to further successful reintroductions over the past few weeks.

ZSL coordinates the global collaboration between 16 zoos and conservation organisations which has seen 15,000 individuals make the journey back to the Islands since its inception. A total of 10 species and sub-species of Partula were also released again this year, with snails coming from Artis Zoo in Amsterdam, Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland and ZSL London Zoo in England.


Animal care

Calls for animal welfare to feature in Wales’ flood and coastal erosion plans - RSPCA Cymru

Animal welfare must be a key consideration of the Welsh Government’s new strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk, according to RSPCA Cymru.

The animal welfare charity has responded to the Welsh Government’s new plans, highlighting the importance of ensuring communities are prepared to protect animals in the event of an emergency.

Almost half of all households in Wales own at least one animal, and many may be unwilling to vacate or leave an emergency situation unless the welfare of their animals was guaranteed.

The RSPCA believes incorporating guidance and advice for pet, equine and farm animal owners, and animal-related businesses, is key in ensuring animal safety during emergency situations.


Scientific Research, Results and Publications.

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology will become independent on 1 December 2019 - CEH

We are pleased to announce that the UK’s Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, and HM Treasury have approved the case for the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) to become an independent research institute.

CEH will become autonomous from UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), launching as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee with charitable status on 1 December this year.

CEH will continue to deliver impartial, world-class environmental science for a wide range of funders and to collaborate with partners across borders, sectors and disciplines. We will maintain the close relationship we have with UKRI and NERC, and remain the main delivery partner for NERC National Capability research for environmental sciences across land, water and air.


Basking sharks exhibit different diving behaviour depending on the season, a new study shows - University of Exeter

Tracking the world’s second-largest shark species has revealed that it moves to different depths depending on the time of year.

Basking sharks spend most of the summer months at the ocean’s surface, but dive to deeper depths in winter.

This seasonal variation in behaviour is likely caused by environmental conditions: sharks could be exploring different areas of the ocean to deal with changes in food abundance.

Image courtesy of P.DohertyImage courtesy of P.Doherty

Basking sharks also perform “yo-yo” dives towards late winter and early spring. “Yo-yo” dives are rapid and repeated movements between deep and surface waters.

Whilst performing these dives, several of the studied sharks reached depths of over 1000 m, and two were tracked as far as 1500 m below the surface.

Dr Phil Doherty, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus and lead author of the study, said: “We do not know exactly why the sharks are performing these dives. They may be sampling the water column in efforts to detect prey, or attempting to re-orientate themselves for navigation purposes.”

Dr Doherty and his colleagues from the University of Exeter teamed up with Scottish Natural Heritage, MarAlliance, Manx Basking Shark Watch and Wave Action to study how the movements and diving behaviour of basking sharks change throughout the year.

The team attached satellite tags to 32 of these gentle giants off the coast of Scotland from a boat and monitored their movements. The tags collected data on depth and temperature, along with ambient light levels, which can be used to estimate the sharks’ location each day.

The collected data reveal a seasonal change in diving behaviour, it also showed that basking sharks move to different depths depending on the time of day.

“We found that sharks spent most of the summer near the surface of the water, occupying the top few metres during the day, moving down to depths of 10-25 m at night. But in winter, they did the opposite, spending the majority of time between 50 and 250 m, but more often shallower during the night,” said Dr Doherty.



University of Saskatchewan led study shows insecticides threaten survival of wild birds - University of Saskatchewan

New research at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) shows how the world’s most widely used insecticides could be partly responsible for a dramatic decline in songbird populations.

The study, to be published in the journal Science on Sept. 13, is the first experiment to track the effects of a neonicotinoid pesticide on birds in the wild.
The study found that white-crowned sparrows who consumed small doses of an insecticide called imidacloprid suffered weight loss and delays to their migration—effects that could severely harm the birds’ ability to survive and reproduce. We saw these effects using doses well within the range of what a bird could realistically consume in the wild—equivalent to eating just a few treated seeds,” said Margaret Eng, a post-doctoral fellow in the USask Toxicology Centre and lead author of the study.

“Our study shows that this is bigger than the bees—birds can also be harmed by modern neonicotinoid pesticides, which should worry us all,” said biologist Bridget Stutchbury of York University one of the research collaborators.

The researchers exposed individual sparrows to small doses of the pesticide—imidacloprid—in southern Ontario during a stopover on the birds’ spring migration. Each bird’s body composition was measured before and after exposure, and a lightweight radio transmitter was attached to the bird’s back to track its movements in the wild.  Birds given the higher dose of the pesticide lost six per cent of their body mass within just six hours. That one dose also caused birds to stay 3.5 days longer, on average, at the stopover site before resuming their migration, compared to control birds.

Access the paper:  By Margaret L. Eng, Bridget J. M. Stutchbury, Christy A. Morrissey. A neonicotinoid insecticide reduces fueling and delays migration in songbirds.  Science13 Sep 2019 : 1177-1180   


New Study Finds U.S. and Canada Have Lost More Than One In Four Birds in the Past 50 Years - 3 Billion Birds .org

 Data show that since 1970, the U.S. and Canada have lost nearly 3 billion birds, a massive reduction in abundance involving hundreds of species, from beloved backyard songbirds to long-distance migrants.

A study published today (19/9/19) in the journal Science reveals that since 1970, bird populations in the United States and Canada have declined by 29 percent, or almost 3 billion birds, signaling a widespread ecological crisis. The results show tremendous losses across diverse groups of birds and habitats — from iconic songsters such as meadowlarks to long-distance migrants such as swallows and backyard birds including sparrows.

Sanderling by Andy Eckerson, Macaulay Library at Cornell Lab of OrnithologySanderling by Andy Eckerson, Macaulay Library at Cornell Lab of Ornithology

“Multiple, independent lines of evidence show a massive reduction in the abundance of birds,” said Ken Rosenberg, the study’s lead author and a senior scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy. “We expected to see continuing declines of threatened species. But for the first time, the results also showed pervasive losses among common birds across all habitats, including backyard birds.”

The study notes that birds are indicators of environmental health, signaling that natural systems across the U.S. and Canada are now being so severely impacted by human activities that they no longer support the same robust wildlife populations.

The findings show that of nearly 3 billion birds lost, 90 percent belong to 12 bird families, including sparrows, warblers, finches, and swallows — common, widespread species that play influential roles in food webs and ecosystem functioning, from seed dispersal to pest control.

Read the paper: Rosenberg, K. V., A. M. Dokter, P. J. Blancher, J. R. Sauer, A. C. Smith, P. A. Smith, J. C. Stanton, A. Panjabi, L. Helft, M. Parr, and P. P. Marra. 2019. Decline of the North American avifauna. Science 365(6461). doi: 10.1126/science.aaw1313


Scientific Publications 

Sykes, L. , Santini, L. , Etard, A. and Newbold, T. (2019), Effects of rarity form on species’ responses to land use. Conservation Biology. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/cobi.13419


Girndt, A. , Cockburn, G. , Sánchez-Tójar, A. , Hertel, M. , Burke, T. and Schroeder, J. (2019), Male age and its association with reproductive traits in captive and wild house sparrows. J Evol Biol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/jeb.13542


Wongbusarakum, S, Brown, V, Loerzel, A, et alAchieving social and ecological goals of coastal management through integrated monitoring. J Appl Ecol. 2019; 00: 1– 10.  doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13494


Rose, D. C. et al. Calling for a new agenda for conservation science to create evidence-informed policy (open access) Biological Conservation. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108222


Bas Boots, Connor William Russell, and Dannielle Senga Green Effects of Microplastics in Soil Ecosystems: Above and Below Ground Environ. Sci. Technol DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b03304


Victoria E. Lee, Noémie Régli, Guillam E. McIvor and Alex Thornton Social learning about dangerous people by wild jackdaws R. Soc. open sci. (open access) doi.org/10.1098/rsos.191031


Mellado, A. and Zamora, R. (2019), Ecological consequences of parasite host shifts under changing environments: More than a change of partner. J Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1365-2745.13295


F. X. Macià, M. Menchetti, C. Corbella, J. Grajera & R. Vila (2019) Exploitation of the invasive Asian Hornet Vespa velutina by the European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus, Bird Study, DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2019.1660304


Ponti, R. , Arcones, A. , Ferrer, X. and Vieites, D. R. (2019), Seasonal climatic niches diverge in migratory birds. Ibis. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/ibi.12784

Jansen, F, Bonn, A, Bowler, DE, Bruelheide, H, Eichenberg, D. Moderately common plants show highest relative losses. Conservation Letters. 2019;e12674 doi:10.1111/conl.12674


Wongbusarakum, S, Brown, V, Loerzel, A, et al. Achieving social and ecological goals of coastal management through integrated monitoring. J Appl Ecol. 2019; 00: 1– 10. doi: .1111/1365-2664.13494 Open access


Pollution, Sustainablity and Climate Change.

NFU unveils its plan for British farming to deliver net zero – National Farmers Union        

The NFU will today (10 September) unveil its vision of how British farming hopes to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

The NFU's new report, Achieving Net Zero: Farming’s 2040 Goal, sets out three pillars of activity that will help the industry to reach its ambitious goal. These are:

  • Improving farming’s productive efficiency
  • Improving land management and changing land use to capture more carbon
  • Boosting renewable energy and the wider bio-economy.

The first of these pillars is about reducing emissions, using a wide variety of techniques to enhance productivity and deliver the same output or more from every farm, and working smarter to use fewer inputs.

The second is about increasing farming’s ability to capture more carbon though bigger hedgerows, more trees and woodland, enhancing soil organic matter and conserving existing carbon stores in grassland and pasture.

The third pillar involves displacing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through bioenergy and bio-based materials such as hemp fibre and sheep’s wool.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “There is no doubt that climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time and rising rapidly on the political agenda both at home and globally. Representing British farming, we recognise our unique position as both a source and a store for greenhouse gas emissions and, importantly, how we can build on our work so far to deliver climate neutral farming in the next 20 years. We aspire to be producing the most climate-friendly food in the world. The carbon footprint of British red meat is only 40 per cent of the world average. And we can go further, whether that is through improving our productivity, using our own land to take up and store carbon, planting hedgerows and trees to capture even more, and boosting our renewable energy output. We know that there is no single answer to the climate change challenge facing us all.”


Choices made now are critical for the future of our ocean and cryosphere - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report highlights the urgency of prioritizing timely, ambitious and coordinated action to address unprecedented and enduring changes in the ocean and cryosphere.

The report reveals the benefits of ambitious and effective adaptation for sustainable development and, conversely, the escalating costs and risks of delayed action.

The ocean and the cryosphere – the frozen parts of the planet – play a critical role for life on Earth. A total of 670 million people in high mountain regions and 680 million people in low-lying coastal zones depend directly on these systems. Four million people live permanently in the Arctic region, and small island developing states are home to 65 million people.

Global warming has already reached 1°C above the pre-industrial level, due to past and current greenhouse gas emissions. There is overwhelming evidence that this is resulting in profound consequences for ecosystems and people. The ocean is warmer, more acidic and less productive. Melting glaciers and ice sheets are causing sea level rise, and coastal extreme events are becoming more severe.

The IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, approved on 24 September 2019 by the 195 IPCC member governments, provides new evidence for the benefits of limiting global warming to the lowest possible level – in line with the goal that governments set themselves in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions limits the scale of ocean and cryosphere changes. Ecosystems and the livelihoods that depend on them can be preserved.

Reaction: Our response to the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate - National Trust

Phil Dyke, Marine and Coast Specialist for the National Trust, said: “Today’s IPCC report is a stark wake-up call to global leaders on the extraordinary effects of climate change on our oceans and coastlines. We are seeing unprecedented change - from vanishing ice sheets in Greenland to extreme weather events becoming more frequent. Sea levels are rising faster than ever before, millions of people are at risk of being displaced and biodiversity is being damaged beyond repair. The IPCC today warned that the thawing of the Earth’s frozen regions could release billions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere as early as 2100, which would be calamitous. Far from being a distant threat, the melting of the Earth’s glaciers and ice sheets is now the main contributor to sea level rise, which when combined with coastal erosion, means swathes of the UK’s beaches and clifftops are being washed away at an increasing rate.”


Fundamental shift away from single use packaging necessary, say MPs - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has today called for the government to focus on reducing all single use packaging – not just plastic – in its latest report on Plastic food and drink packaging.

Reusable and refillable packaging systems should be reviewed

The Committee, which looked specifically at food and drink packaging, has recommended that the Government should conduct a review of reusable and refillable packaging systems to determine what works and where Government intervention might be appropriate.

In addition, Parliament should lead by example, with the ambition to remove single use packaging from all its catering facilities.

The Committee also supported Government proposals to improve the recycling rate with extended producer responsibility, a Deposit Return Scheme and consistency in recycling collections.

The Committee has called for a modulated plastic packaging tax, with lower fees for higher levels of recycled content. Furthermore, imported, filled packaging should not be exempt from the tax as this could damage UK manufacturing.

Reaction: Disappointment at UK Government inaction to tackle root causes of plastic pollution - Environmental Investigation Agency

A report published today by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) criticises the UK Government for not placing enough emphasis on reducing single-use plastic food and drink packaging.

It states that prevention is the most important way to reduce waste and greater effort needs to be put into this: “A fundamental shift away from all single-use food and drink packaging, plastic or otherwise, is vital for the future protection of the environment.”

It further notes “it is disappointing that comparatively little emphasis has been placed … on reducing plastic waste [by the Government].”

The report, Plastic Food and Drink Packaging, recognises that recycling is not enough, despite this being the main focus of industry and Government initiatives to date, and states it is “shocking that [the Government] does not know how much plastic packaging is placed on market in the UK, nor how much is really recycled.”

Plastic Food and Drink Packaging also warns against a simple substitution of one single-use material for another, noting that “all food and drink packaging materials, whether plastic or another material, has an environmental impact”. This includes non-conventional plastics such as compostable packaging, which the report does not support a general increase in use.

A shift towards reusable and refillable packaging ranges will be critical for achieving an absolute reduction in packaging waste and the report welcomes the trials and ‘zero waste’ initiatives seen to date. It notes, however, that “these changes are unlikely to enable a revolution in the way most consumers shop unless they are widely available” and encourages greater emphasis to be given to scaling up these solutions.

Read the full report: Plastic food and drink packaging


Bicycles, traffic cones, fridge components, underpants and safes - Canal and River Trust

One of the country’s biggest canal clean-ups removes 1.8 tonnes of rubbish, comprising 809 Kgs of plastic (almost 50% of rubbish).

1.8 tonnes of rubbish, comprising 809 Kgs of plastic waste has been removed from a 10-mile stretch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in one of the country’s biggest canal clean-ups.

Almost 300 colleagues from Asda House took time out to make a difference and help tackle the plastic pollution crisis, supported by us here at the Trust.

Bicycles, traffic cones, spare tyres, safes, men’s underpants, shoes, and even the inside of a fridge, were among the hundreds of items removed by volunteers, with many taking the opportunity to get afloat on the water by canoe and boat.

Rubbish and plastic waste collected over five days (2-6 September) by Asda and the Trust was taken to a nearby responsible waste disposal company in Leeds. Maltings Organic Treatment Ltd weighed the rubbish daily and the company will also be recycling the plastic items collected from the canal into a bench. Colleagues originally predicted that the amount of plastic collected throughout the week would be enough to make one bench, however the 809 Kgs found on the litter pick actually equates to nine whole benches.

Sean McGinley, our Yorkshire & North East director, added: “It’s amazing to see what lurks beneath our waterways and I wonder how some of these items have ended up in our waterways. Our charity spends around £1million a year dealing with litter and fly-tipping, money that could be better spent elsewhere. We’re delighted to see the difference Asda volunteers have made and hope the experience has helped people to get to know their local canal and how we look after it.”


Pioneering study into microplastic levels in UK water supplies - Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) has carried out a comprehensive study of microplastics for the UK and Irish water industry.

Until now, there has been limited information about the levels at which microplastic particles are found at different points in the water cycle.

But, in the first comprehensive research of its kind to date, CEH carried out sampling at a total of 16 different water company premises across the country in order to assess how much of the microplastic material was removed by treatment plants.

Half the sites tested were water treatment works (WTW), which take water from upland reservoirs, aquifers or rivers and turn it into drinking water. The other eight were wastewater treatment works (WwTW), which treat wastewater before it is discharged into rivers.

The study was commissioned by UKWIR – the UK and Irish water industry’s research body – so it could better understand where and in what quantities microplastic particles exist within the wastewater treatment and water supply systems. This will support the water companies’ aim to provide safe, healthy drinking water supplies while protecting the environment. The study will also help to determine the future direction and research needs in and around the water and terrestrial environment.

Standard approaches to measuring microplastic particles in water, wastewater and the solid residues from the associated treatment processes (sludge) do not yet exist, and the CEH study will support the development of a robust approach to the sampling and detection of microplastic particles in the treated water cycle. 


Somerset landowner kills fish by tipping chemicals on ground - Environment Agency

Tipping chemicals left over from his plant nursery business onto gravel ended up in a stream and killing hundreds of fish. 

A retired plant nursery owner has ended up with a bill of more than £27,000 for illegally disposing of waste herbicides and pesticides at a site in Somerset. The chemicals entered a stream and killed more than 270 fish.

In September 2017 the Environment Agency received a report of dead fish in a watercourse known as the London Cross tributary near Combe Florey, Taunton. Investigating officers found dead lamprey, bullhead, brown trout, eels, freshwater shrimps and other aquatic invertebrates that are food for fish. They followed the trail of dead fish and invertebrates upstream to some pipes draining into a ditch.

The next day officers met with the landowner, Michael Cheadle, who showed them an area of gravel near a polytunnel where he said he’d disposed of some old chemicals used at his former nursery business including a fungicide, disinfectant and some fertiliser granules. He said that afterwards he hosed down the area with water. The gravel was only 15 metres from the ditch the officers had seen the previous day.  Cheadle later admitted disposing of a total of 6 chemicals at the site including a fungicide called Amistar that is highly toxic to aquatic life. He told officers he had burnt the empty pesticide containers on a bonfire. Water samples taken from the ditch and stream also contained Lindane, a persistent insecticide that is toxic to humans.

The investigation revealed there was a land drain beneath the gravel where the defendant disposed of the waste pesticides allowing the chemicals direct access to the ditch and nearby stream. A biological survey confirmed the pollution had ‘significantly impacted’ approximately 2 miles of watercourse. Some of the species affected, including eels and lamprey, are endangered.


Two-thirds of people support limiting air travel to tackle climate change – Cardiff University

Addressing climate change requires a ‘high’ or ‘extremely high’ level of urgency, say more than three in five people.

Two-thirds of people also support limiting air travel in order to address climate change, whilst just over half are in support of reducing the amount of meat in our diets.

This is according to results from a YouGov poll commissioned by a brand new UK research centre set up to examine the social and behavioural changes needed for a low-carbon and sustainable society.

Led by scientists from Cardiff University, the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) will explore ways in which people can act directly to reduce their own carbon emissions, as well as influence other people, organisational decisions, and policies.

The centre has also been praised by climate activist Greta Thunberg who, in a special recorded message, described CAST as ‘extremely important and essential’ to helping achieve the drastic changes in our lifestyles to combat the climate crisis.

The £5m ESRC-funded centre is a collaboration between Cardiff, Manchester, York and East Anglia Universities, as well as the charity Climate Outreach.


Shifting the focus of climate-change strategies may benefit younger generations - Imperial College London

Strategies to limit climate change that focus on warming in the next couple of decades would leave less of a burden for future generations.

Research led by Imperial College London and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria, suggests a new underpinning logic for strategies that seek to limit climate change. Their new proposal is published today in Nature.

Most strategies seek to limit climate change by the year 2100. The strategies may include tactics such as deployment of new renewable technologies, removing carbon from the atmosphere (through planting trees or new technologies), or mandating energy efficiency targets.

However, by focusing on the year 2100, these strategies are inconsistent with the Paris Agreement climate goal – to keep warming below 2°C, and ideally below 1.5°C, at any time in the future.

Read the paper: Joeri Rogelj, Daniel Huppmann, Volker Krey, Keywan Riahi, Leon Clarke, Matthew Gidden, Zebedee Nicholls & Malte Meinshausen A new scenario logic for the Paris Agreement long-term temperature goal. Nature 10.1038/s41586-019-1541-4


New Funding, Awards and Projects.

The Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project secures National Lottery support

The Urban Nature Project aims to turn the Natural History Museum’s five-acre outdoor space into an exemplar of urban wildlife research and conservation, and engage the nation with urban biodiversity.

A Bioblitz event taking place at the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden © The Trustees of the Natural History MuseumA Bioblitz event taking place at the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum has received initial support* from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for its Urban Nature Project (UNP), an ambitious national programme to inspire communities to take action for urban wildlife through the transformation of the Museum’s gardens and a network of regional and national partnerships.

The UNP aims to turn the Natural History Museum’s five-acre outdoor space into an exemplar of urban wildlife research and conservation and engage the nation with urban biodiversity. It convenes a UK-wide partnership which will tackle challenges facing urban natural heritage,  reconnect people to nature and explore the importance of evolutionary change through time.

Comprising a coalition of museums and wildlife organisations, it will develop the tools and skills urgently needed to understand urban nature and inspire diverse audiences to make a lifelong connection to nature, learn about its value, and take action to protect it.

Development funding of £210,900 has been awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help the Museum progress plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant of £3,231,900 at a later date.

The Natural History Museum’s Executive Director of Development Fiona McWilliams says: “Urbanisation is rising rapidly, significantly squeezing space for wildlife, so it has never been more important to connect people with the nature on their doorstep and help them to enjoy and protect it for future generations. The Urban Nature Project’s national activity programme will inspire and empower people to recognise, understand and protect the nature in towns and cities whilst also providing scientific evidence that conservationists can use to protect urban nature across the UK.”


Conservation project Back from the Brink is Awards champion - National Lottery Heritage Fund

National Lottery Heritage FundLandmark nature project Back from the Brink has picked up the Best Heritage Project Award in the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards.

(image: National Lottery Heritage Fund)

TV nature presenter Steve Backshall was on hand to deliver the good news to the team after they won a public vote to land the prize in the annual search for the most popular projects funded by The National Lottery.

Backshall, the well-loved wildlife presenter of BBC’s Deadly 60, presented the project with their award this week (23 September) at Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire. A short film featuring his visit will be shown on BBC One in November as part of the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards.

As the first of its kind, Back from the Brink seeks to save 20 of the UK’s most endangered animals, plants and fungi. This ambitious programme will also benefit more than 200 at-risk species, carried out by 19 projects at more than 40 sites across England.


Recreation, Environmental Education, Community and Health.

Woodland sounds boost wellbeing, according to new study - The National Trust 

The crunch of snapping twigs underfoot. Lilting birdsong from above. The rustling of trees in the breeze. Woodland sounds have been shown to have a direct impact on our wellbeing, making us more relaxed, less stressed and less anxious.

A new mental chronometry study commissioned by the National Trust explored how soaking up the sounds of the natural world affects people, and found it relaxes us more than if we listen to a voiced meditation app, and in the tests, reduced feelings of stress and anxiety by over a fifth.

The data highlights how being immersed in the sounds of woodlands can positively affect our overall levels of wellbeing, and shows that time spent listening to the sounds of the natural world has a direct impact on how we feel.

Dr Eleanor Ratcliffe, Lecturer in Environmental Psychology, University of Surrey, comments: “There is a large body of scientific evidence demonstrating that experience of nature can benefit health and wellbeing, including recovery from everyday psychological stress. Much of this research has focused on visual experiences, but more recent work has shown that the sounds of the outdoors, such as birdsong, wind, and water, can also improve mood and reduce stress. These sounds offer a way to connect with nature no matter where you are.”

Nation’s Favourite Woodland Sounds

1. Birdsong
2. A running stream
3. Wind rustling tree leaves
4. Silence
5. Twigs snapping underfoot
6. Animal noises
7. Wind whistling through trees
8. Rain falling on leaves
9. Conkers hitting the ground
10. Squelching of mud 


Do nature shows deceive us into thinking our planet is fine? – Bangor University

Research into recent BBC and Netflix nature documentaries suggests that while they increasingly mention threats faced by the natural world, they rarely show the full extent of human-caused environmental destruction

There is overwhelming scientific consensus that nature is being severely affected by humans, the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, and that this has serious impacts. Nature documentaries have sometimes been criticised for failing to show the true extent of this environmental loss. A new study found that while recent high-profile nature documentaries talk more about the threats facing the inspiring natural wonders portrayed, nature is still mostly visually depicted as pristine and untouched, potentially resulting in a sense of complacency among viewers.

Researchers from Bangor University, University of Kent, Newcastle University and University of Oxford analysed Netflix’s Our Planet alongside BBC’s Dynasties, Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II to determine the frequency of words that mention environmental threats and conservation successes. Promotional material for the Netflix series Our Planet highlights its focus on revealing the key issues that urgently threaten the existence of natural wonders and wildlife spectacles. While the series does indeed talk more about threats (and the potential effectiveness of conservation actions to address these threats) than the previous BBC offerings analysed, the researchers note that visually the series is very similar to these BBC documentaries. The rapid conversion of habitats across the planet and the impacts of humans almost everywhere is hardly shown.


People Living Near Green Spaces Are at Lower Risk of Metabolic Syndrome – Barcelona Institute of Global Health

A study analyses for the first time the relation between long-term exposure to residential green spaces and a cluster of conditions that include obesity and hypertension Barcelona, September 26 - Middle-aged and older adults that live in greener neighbourhoods are at lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome than those living in areas with less green spaces. This is the main conclusion of a new study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by ”la Caixa”, which provides further evidence on the health benefits of green spaces. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together and include obesity, hypertension, high blood sugar levels, and abnormal fat levels. It is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases such as heart attacks, diabetes or stroke. To date, a number of studies have analysed the relationship between exposure to green spaces and individual components of metabolic syndrome. In this study, ISGlobal examined the link with metabolic syndrome as a whole, providing an indicator of overall cardiometabolic health, and in the long-term.


It’s time for some Acorn Antics! – Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is asking education and learning groups to get outside and collect acorns.

The annual Acorn Antics project helps NRW plant more trees which have been grown from local seeds.

Image: Natural Resources WalesImage: Natural Resources Wales

It also gives young people the opportunity to learn about, and connect with, the natural environment in Wales.

Ffion Hughes, Specialist Advisor: Education, Learning & Skills, Natural Resources Wales said: “Re-planting trees in the area they were found as acorns means they are better suited to the local conditions and provide the greatest benefit to local wildlife. The project also gives people the chance to get outside and learn about our natural environment, while helping to protect it at the same time. Once again, we’re teaming up with schools and education groups to develop activities that can teach learners about the environment while they are collecting acorns.”

Seed collections can be organised by all sorts of education and learning groups such as, schools, Brownies, Scouts or Young Farmers.

People can also get involved by donating acorns to their local group or inviting them to collect acorns from their land.

Ffion continued: “Oak trees provide a home for wildlife and help reduce the effects of climate change by taking in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere - they can also help reduce flood risk and create great places for people to relax and enjoy the outdoors. We hope that lots of groups will want to get outside, raise some money, and help ensure there will be plenty of Welsh oaks for the future.”


Unlocking history and heritage for millions of people affected by dementia – National Trust

Forget-me-nots at Peckover House, Cambridgeshire – this flower represents remembrance and is an emblem for people living with dementia National Trust / Clive StephensForget-me-nots at Peckover House, Cambridgeshire – this flower represents remembrance and is an emblem for people living with dementia National Trust / Clive Stephens

Two of the UK’s most popular charities have today announced an ambitious three-year project to unlock some of the nation’s best loved history and heritage for millions of people affected by dementia.

The National Trust is joining forces with Alzheimer’s Society to make all of its 500 historic and countryside sites dementia-friendly, in the first project of its kind for the Trust.

It comes as figures reveal that seven per cent (about 150,000) of National Trust supporters over the age of 65, including its volunteers, staff and members, may be living with the condition. This is in line with research from Alzheimer’s Society showing that 1 in every 14 people in the UK aged 65 and over has dementia, with someone developing the condition every three minutes, and the Society predicting those living with the disease will hit one million within three years.   

For people with dementia and their carers, historic spaces, collections and stories can prompt and stimulate discussion and connection, encourage outdoor exploration, and offer a vital connection to the world around them, with day trips recognised as one of the most likely and regular activities for people living with the condition and their carers.

In comparison to other visitor attractions, people living with dementia also view heritage sites as ‘safe’ and familiar spaces. Heritage (including visiting sites and participating in outdoors projects) has also been found to be one of the top activities of choice for those impacted by dementia, in surveys and focus groups carried out by Alzheimer’s Society.


How to get your news to us:

Send your press releases to newsdesk@countryside-jobs.com or email a link to items on your website.

If it's time sensitive we can embargo the details to a specific date, let us know when you'd like it to be published. 



Browse the Training Directory online here for short courses (up to 10 days long), or here for longer courses, distance learning and centres and providers

The Directory includes a wide range of courses providing certification in practical skills such as chainsaw use, need to learn how to identify dragonflies, or want to find out the best way to get the community involved in your project then this is the section to read.    We include details of many professional courses in the online short courses pages. There are also sections for longer courses, training centres and other events (eg conferences).

Search for your next CPD course here.

Outdoor Recreation Conference posterJoin the Outdoor Recreation Network for their upcoming ‘Outdoor Recreation 2030: Future Trends and Insights’ Conference on 22nd & 23rd October 2019.

This two-day conference will look at what past and current trends tell us about how to prepare for the future, what determines the next “big thing” and the role the outdoors play in contributing to good health and wellbeing. Given the pace of change in the sector this is a timely occasion to gather leaders across the outdoor recreation industry and consider how to plan for and manage future challenges and opportunities. Please book early as tickets are limited and expected to fill up fast. Visit outdoorrecreation.org.uk for the full programme and booking details.

logo: NBN - National Biodiversity NetworkNBN Conference 2019 

This year’s NBN Conference is taking place on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 November at the Albert Hall, Nottingham. The theme is “Network, Knowledge and Narrative – sharing and using data across the NBN and beyond”.  Over the course of the two days we will be hearing from individuals and organisations from across the NBN and further afield, with twenty speakers (including three keynotes) explaining the importance of sharing and using data.

We also have an afternoon of Knowledge Exchange, workshop style, sessions on Wednesday afternoon. These are an opportunity to find out more about a particular aspect of work related to Network business. Some are presentation led, others are discussion based.

At the end of day one, we will also have a special ceremony to announce, and present prizes to, the winners of the NBN Awards.

Ticket prices for the Conference, which also includes the NBN Awards ceremony, range from £45 - £165 depending on whether you attend for one day or two days, and are members, non-members or students.

The NBN Conference matches CIEEM’s Competency Framework so attendance automatically counts as relevant CPD.

More information and how to book can be found on the NBN website: https://nbn.org.uk/news-events-publications/nbn-conference-2/nbn-conference-2019/ 

Calendar of short courses and professional events happening in: December 2019



10/12/2019   BES Annual Meeting 2019 - Celebrating Global Ecology in Belfast   4 Day

Belfast, British Ecological Society. Contact: https://c-js.info/2FBDWYl

Join ecologists from around the world in Belfast this December at the British Ecological Society’s Annual Meeting. You’ll find the latest ideas and the topics that matter in a changing world, with leading science being presented across all of ecology.

10/12/2019   Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) Conference 2019   1 Day

Said Business School, Park End St, Oxford OX1 1HP, LEAP. Contact: kelly.reed@zoo.ox.ac.uk https://c-js.info/2YET3Md

10/12/2019   Can surveillance technology and social science address rule breaking and wildlife crime?   1 Day

Huxley Lecture Theatre, ZSL. Contact: eleanor.darbey@zsl.org https://c-js.info/2n8ut4v


Administrative and Office Skills

03/12/2019   QGIS: Introductory   2 Day

Southampton, GeoData, University of Southampton. Contact: 023 8059 2719 training@geodata.soton.ac.uk http://www.geodata.soton.ac.uk/training/

This course introduces the underlying principles of Geographical Information Systems and examines the processes involved in the capture, storage, analysis and presentation of spatial data. This course is intended for those who have little or no GIS knowledge and who wish to use free software developed by the Open Source community.

04/12/2019   Zero Carbon Britain   2 Day

Machynlleth, Wales, Centre for Alternative Technology. Contact: 01654 704966 courses@cat.org.uk https://www.cat.org.uk/events/zero-carbon-britain-2/

This course offers an in-depth look at Centre for Alternative Technology's flagship research project, Zero Carbon Britain, exploring the radical changes needed to rise to the climate challenge. This course is ideal for educators, policymakers and campaigners.

04/12/2019   Introduction to Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA)   1 Day in London


A one-day introductory course designed for those new to EcIA or practitioners requiring an overview of the process. The course will follow the approach to EcIA set out in CIEEM's guidelines, and will focus on the terrestrial (rather than the marine) environment.

05/12/2019   Habitats Regulations Appraisal of Plans / Projects (Scotland)   1 Day in Glasgow http://events.cieem.net/Events/EventPages/05122019000000HabitatsRegulationsAppraisalHRAofPlansandProjectsScotland.aspx

This beginner - intermediate level training will provide a thorough understanding of the overall purpose, process and methodology of Habitats Regulations Appraisal, including Appropriate Assessment and the roles of different organisations and individuals in the process.

Above two courses with CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626 enquiries@cieem.net

10/12/2019   QGIS: Advanced   2 Day

Southampton, GeoData, University of Southampton. Contact: 023 8059 2719 training@geodata.soton.ac.uk http://www.geodata.soton.ac.uk/training/

In this course delegates are introduced to advanced analysis techniques using both raster and vector data. The course includes a basic introduction to server database PostgresSQL/PostGIS. The course is designed for existing users of QGIS that want to expand their knowledge and carry out higher-level analysis.

12/12/2019   BS42020 Biodiversity: Code of Practice for Planning and Development   1 Day in Swansea http://events.cieem.net/Events/EventPages/12122019000000BS42020BiodiversityCodeofPracticeforPlanningandDevelopment.aspx

With sessions led by Mike Oxford, Chair of BSI's Technical Committee on Biodiversity and principal author for BS42020, the course will focus on how to achieve effective ecological input at all five stages of the planning and development process.

12/12/2019   Introduction to Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) (Scotland)   1 Day in Edinburgh http://events.cieem.net/Events/EventPages/12122019000000IntroductiontoEcologicalImpactAssessmentEcIAScotland.aspx

A one-day introductory course designed for those new to EcIA or practitioners requiring an overview of the process. The course will follow the approach to EcIA set out in CIEEM's guidelines, and will focus on the terrestrial (rather than the marine) environment.

Above two courses with CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626 enquiries@cieem.net


Community Engagement and Environmental Education

03/12/2019   Effective Communication Skills   1 Day

London, CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626 enquiries@cieem.net http://events.cieem.net/Events/EventPages/03122019000000EffectiveCommunicationSkills.aspx

Do you want to communicate better at work with customers, contractors, suppliers, colleagues, managers and other professionals? If so, this one-day course is what you are looking for.

07/12/2019   Expedition Leadership Course   2 Day

Bristol, Explorers Connect. Contact: https://www.explorersconnect.com/expedition-leadership-course

Explorers Connect's ever-popular sellout course is back for 2019. Make a life-changing step and join other like-minded people to learn the hard and soft skills needed to lead expeditions and get a job in the adventure industry. From £214

10/12/2019   Advanced Facilitation Training (London) Two Day Course   2 Day

St Luke's Community Centre, 90 Central St, London EC1V 8AJ, Talk Action. Contact: 02034887010 training@talkaction.org https://www.talkaction.org/training/advanced-facilitation-london-december/#CJS


First Aid, Risk Assessment and other Health & Safety Related Courses

07/12/2019   Outdoor First Aid   2 Day

Mugdock Country Park, Glasgow, First Aid Training Cooperative. Contact: 07585723763 courses@firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk http://www.firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk/outdoor

Suitable for all types of outdoor practitioners. Theoretical training and practical scenarios are used together, and are progressed to being based in remote locations, potentially several hours from help. You will be very active on this course, both inside and outdoors.

10/12/2019   IOSH Managing Safety   3 Day

Kensington, London, APIS Solutions. Contact: 01522 753568 info@apissolutions.co.uk http://www.apissolutions.co.uk

10/12/2019   ROLO Health, Safety & Environmental Awareness   1 Day

Settle BD24 9DN, Lowe Maintenance Training . Contact: 01729 825132 info@lowe-maintenance.co.uk http://www.lowe-maintenance.co.uk

This one day course is a pre requisite for anyone within the land based industries who require a CSCS card to work on sites


Horticulture and Small Holding

06/12/2019   The Science of Mulching   2.5 Day

Mere Brow Farm, Mere Brow Farm. Contact: sadie.platt@merebrowfarm.co.uk https://www.facebook.com/merebrowfarm/

Designed for beginners and experienced permaculture practitioners alike this 2.5 day course will take you through the principles and benefits of mulching and how you can apply this to your garden or smallholding. Details on our Facebook page.

10/12/2019   Apple Tree Pruning   1 Day

Pucks Oak Barn, near Guildford GU3 1EG, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523 adult.learning@surreywt.org.uk https://www.surreywildlifetrust.org/events/2019-12-10-apple-tree-pruning

Enhance your harvest by learning to prune your apple trees properly.


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Herpetology, Fish and Invertebrates

03/12/2019   ARC Great Crested Newts, Licensing and Mitigation   2 Day

Preston Montford, Field Studies Council and ARC. Contact: 01743 852040 enquiries.pm@field-studies-council.org http://c-js.co.uk/1tw0v3h

This course has been designed for those ecologists with knowledge and experience of great crested newt survey techniques and limited experience of licensing and mitigation projects. It will include case-study, syndicate exercises, site visits and demonstration techniques to help participants understand license application and mitigation projects.


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Mammals

10/12/2019   Winter bats   1 Day

Lancashire , Ecology Services UK Ltd. Contact: info@ecologyservice.co.uk http://www.ecologyservice.co.uk

A 1 day course for all abilities covering bat ecology and bat surveys in winter. You will develop skills and experience in finding, identifying and conserving hibernating bats.


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Ornithology

06/12/2019   The birds and insects of Gowy Meadows   1 Day

Holly Bank House, Thornton-Le-Moors, Cheshire Wildlife Trust . Contact: 01948 820728 info@cheshirewt.org.uk https://www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2019-12-06-birds-and-insects-gowy-meadows

Hear how wildlife changes across the seasons at Gowy Meadows, with site recorder Steve Holmes

06/12/2019   Birds of Prey of the North Kent Marshes   1 Day

Tyland Barn, Kent Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01622 662012 studydays@kentwildlife.org.uk https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2019-12-06-birds-prey-north-kent-marshes

Spend a day observing birds of prey. Learn how to identify different species and more about their characteristics, habitats and behaviour.


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Plants and Habitats

03/12/2019   Winter Trees and shrubs identification   1 Day at The Woodford Valley, Wiltshire


A 1 day course giving participants the skills and confidence to identify trees and shrubs when not in leaf, a full set of twigs to label and take home and a free copy of the FSC Aidgap Winter Trees guide

05/12/2019   Winter Trees and shrubs identification   1 Day at Natural History Museum, London


A 1 day course giving participants the skills and confidence to identify trees and shrubs when not in leaf, a full set of twigs to label and take home and a free copy of the FSC Aidgap Winter Trees guide

Above two courses with Species Recovery Trust. Contact: 01722 322539 bookings@speciesrecoverytrust.org.uk

05/12/2019   Survey and Assessment of Hedgerows in Winter Months   1 Day

Damerham, CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626 enquiries@cieem.net http://events.cieem.net/Events/EventPages/05122019000000SurveyandAssessmentofHedgerowsinWinterMonths.aspx

A one day course combining classroom and field sessions to develop skills in surveying and evaluating Hedgerows. Led by Dominic Price.

14/12/2019   Winter Tree Identification    1 Day

Woods Mill, Henfield, West Sussex, Sussex Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01273 497544 michaelblencowe@sussexwt.org.uk https://sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/whats-on/2019-12-08-an-introduction-to-tree-identification-in-winter-08122019

Without their leaves identifying broadleaf trees in the winter can be more of a challenge. In this course we will start indoors focusing on features such as buds, twig morphology, and bark to help us decipher which species is which.


Practical Countryside Skills - Machinery

02/12/2019   Emergency Tree Work Operations (formally CS50) NPTC / City and Guilds   3 Day

Three days training plus one day assessment, covering how to deal with emergency tree work operations. Techniques, winching and safe operation.

02/12/2019   PA1 - Principles of Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides NPTC / City and Guilds   1 Day

This is a pre requisite for other pesticide application units, assessment is through on online multiple choice exam. Grandfather Rights unit 1 can be run along side this course

03/12/2019   PA6a - Safe Application of Pesticides Using Pedestrian Hand Held Equipment (knapsacks/lance from a tank) NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day

This course is for people who use knapsacks or hand lances from a tank, the pre-requisite is PA1. Training is one day plus one day for the assessment.

04/12/2019   PA2a - Safe Application of Pesticides Using Self-propelled, Mounted and Trailed Boom Sprayers NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day

This course is for people who use mounted, trailed boom sprayers, the pre-requisite is PA1. Training is one day plus one day for the assessment. Grandfather Rights Unit 3 can be run along side this course.

05/12/2019   PA2f - Safe Application of Pesticides Using Weed Wipers NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day

This course is for people who use weed wipers, the pre-requisite is PA1. Training is one day plus one day for the assessment. Grandfather Rights Unit 3 can be run along side this course.

11/12/2019   Safe Use of Rat and Mice Poison NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day

Any one who uses rat/mice poison as a professional (farmer/gamekeeper/pest controller etc) will need a certificate of competence from Spring 2016. This one day course plus one day assessment upon achievement will enable you to purchase the rodenticides you require for pest control, this is also available online (learn at home then attend the face to face practical assessment)

13/12/2019   ATV Sit Astride (Quad bikes) NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day

One day training plus one day assessment covering maintenance, pre use checks and safe operation of quad bikes (sit astride). Ideal for those working in agriculture, game keeping, landscaping, forestry etc.

16/12/2019   Chainsaw Maintenance, Cross Cutting and Felling and Processing of Trees up to 380mm (formally CS30 and CS31) NPTC / City and Guilds    4 Day

Four days training plus a fifth day for the assessment. Covering the maintenance of a chainsaw, cross cutting and felling and processing trees upto 380mm in diameter Ideal for those new to chainsaws or those needing certificates of competence evidence.

17/12/2019   Safe Use of Brush Cutters and Trimmers NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day

One day integrated training and assessment covering pre use checks, maintenance and safe use. Ideal for those in industries such as horticultural, landscaping, grounds maintenance sectors.

18/12/2019   Safe Use of Hedge Cutters Handheld NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day

One day integrated training and assessment covering pre use checks, maintenance and safe use. Ideal for those in industries such as horticultural, landscaping, grounds maintenance sectors.

19/12/2019   Safe Use of Leaf Blowers NPTC / City and Guilds    0.5 Day

Half a day integrated training and assessment covering pre use checks, maintenance and safe use. Ideal for those in industries such as horticultural, landscaping, grounds maintenance sectors.

All above courses with Lowe Maintenance Training, Settle BD24 9DN. Contact: 01729 825132 info@lowe-maintenance.co.uk http://www.lowe-maintenance.co.uk


Updates and Additions to other sections of Training Directory this month


Distance learning

Microcourses - LHT, Introduction To Agronomy, Arable Broadleaf Crops, Crop Culture Foundation, Seed Management, Crop Husbandry Practices, Arable Cereal Crops, Harvesting & Introduction to Poultry Breeds with LearnHowTo


Training Centre / provider listings

Centre for Alternative Technology


Advertise your training course and professional events.

Send your training course information today to training@countryside-jobs.com or submit online here.

If you're running professional courses or events and would like details to be included here and in the online Training Directory click here for more information, email your details to us or for further information please contact the CJS Team.  Free advertising available.

Additions to the Grants and sources of funding listings.


Citizen Science Exploration Grants from UK Research and innovation

The Barrack Charitable Trust

The Climate Action Fund from The National Lottery Community Fund

South Downs Trust is offering The Volunteer Conservation Fund and The Sustainable Communities Fund

The Partnership Innovation Fund from Woodland Trust


See the adverts by Clicking Here  If you know of a funding source that is not listed please send us details and we'll contact the organisation for more information.

The next edition of CJS Professional will be published on: 14 November

Got something to share or want to advertise? The deadline is: 5pm Monday 11 November

Contact us by email: ranger@countryside-jobs.com

Details believed correct but given without prejudice.

CJS is not responsible for content of external sites. 

Would you like to be reminded when the next edition is online?


Find out more about advertising in CJS Professional here.