A Green Recovery at Wallington

A visualisation of what the Delf Burn could look like after nature recovery work

In November 2020, Wallington was successful in its bid for funding from the DEFRA Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The aim of the fund is to support projects that are ready to deliver and focus on nature restoration, nature-based solutions and connecting people with nature.

What is the Green Recovery Challenge Fund?

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a short-term, competitive fund to kickstart the process of nature recovery, start to address the climate crisis and help create and retain thousands of green jobs. The £40 million fund has been developed by Defra and its arm’s-length bodies, including Natural England, Forestry Commission, Environment Agency and others. The National Lottery Heritage Fund is distributing and monitoring this government money.

The 'Historic Landscapes' programme has been awarded £3.85 million by Defra as part of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The funding will kickstart a programme of work, worth over £4.7 million, to enhance nature and start to combat the effects of climate change in five of the most significant historic landscapes in our care. 

This image is what the landscape looks like today on part of the estate before the project gets underway. The hero image at the top of this page is a visualisation of what it could look after we make the start on a green recovery for nature.

An image of the Delf Burn as it looks today
An image of the Delf Burn as it looks today
An image of the Delf Burn as it looks today

Wallington’s working towards a Green Recovery - The Living Hartburn

Through the 'Historic Landscapes' programme, Wallington is set to benefit from over £800,000 of funding. Centred in the Hart Burn Catchment, these vital funds will allow us to undertake major river enhancements works including fencing and major hedgerow and woodland creation, enabling habitat and species restoration. The work will see significant habitat gains leading to increased nature connectivity and enhanced environmental farming practices. It will draw on work themes identified within Wallington’s Estate Management Plan (2019). The aim is to plant 7.3km of hedgerows and 75,000 trees and restore 50km of waterways all along the river corridors that will enable natural processes to prevail.

Wallington’s Vision  

Over the next 50 years, we will work with our partners to create rich and healthy spaces for nature, and in doing so, reverse the decline in wildlife and their habitats. We are working to create places where people and nature can thrive together.  

Gallows Hill Farm from above. Part of the 20 sq/mile Wallington estate
Gallows Hill Farm from above. Part of the 20 sq/mile Wallington estate
Gallows Hill Farm from above. Part of the 20 sq/mile Wallington estate

What will happen at Wallington as part of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund?

Woodlands creation – Wallington is going to plant 75,000 trees to create 12ha of new deciduous woodland, with the ambition to plant over 500,000 trees over the next 10 years. This will play a significant role in the National Trust ambition to plant 20m by 2030.

In doing so, we are increasing carbon storage, benefiting many species including the red squirrel, woodland birds, pine martins and butterflies. We will be creating woodland edges, which are of huge significance as most wildlife is adapted to living along these edges where there is more sunlight. We will be planting next to existing woodlands, creating larger blocks for wildlife movement and in turn making them more robust in offering protection to the species living there. In creating and managing woodlands, we are improving water quality and slowing down the flow of the river where woodlands are created within the river corridor.  

Hedgerow creation – We will be planting 18,000 hedgerow trees creating 7.3km of hedgerow, linking small and isolated enabling key animal species to move around more freely. Almost all our native mammals have been recorded as being supported by hedgerows, which are home to over 500 plant species, 60 species of nesting bird and many hundreds of invertebrates. 

Peatlands restoration – this is absolutely vital for carbon storage. Peatlands also slow the flow of water, clean the water and create habitats for specialist birds such as curlew, snipe and lapwing. They also create habitats for other species including the large heath butterfly. We already have a colony at Greenleighton on the estate, so we can further support their numbers and spread them further afield through restoring peatlands. Wallington has a significant part to play in achieving our charity’s ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. 

Restoration of riverside habitats – we will be working along 6.5km of burns, planting trees along the stream edges creating a better environment for the native white-clawed crayfish, (a species that is associated with good quality) dippers, water vole and fish. This will also slow the flow of water to alleviate flooding. We will erect fencing to exclude stock at certain times of the year to allow better bankside vegetation and wildflowers to establish. We will be commissioning a feasibility study on the introduction of beavers and we’re also looking at low lying areas becoming wetlands, redistributing of water along the flood plain. 

Engaging and inspiring our supporters – we will be highlighting the health and well-being benefits to people of this work and deepening their connection with nature giving them freedom to explore, learn and discover. We will empower people to make changes to their own spaces, however small, and to act on their own doorsteps.