Shropshire nature conservation project awarded nearly £500,000

A National Trust-led project has been awarded nearly £500,000 in funding to continue its nature conservation work in the Shropshire Hills.

A Pine Marten. Photo by Terry Whittaker
A Pine Marten. Photo by Terry Whittaker

This funding comes from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, which was developed by Defra and is being delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Stepping Stones is a landscape-scale nature conservation project which aims to create and restore patches of wildlife-friendly habitat and link them via hedgerows, verges, hillsides and streamside wetlands.

These natural corridors and ‘stepping stones’ will help wildlife to thrive and move freely through the landscape.

The project is focused in south Shropshire across the Long Mynd, Stiperstones and beyond.

Charlie Bell, Stepping Stones Project Officer, recently revealed that part of the funding will support the work of the Shropshire Pine Marten Project, helping to protect one of Shropshire’s rarest mammals.

He said: “In south Shropshire, we’re lucky enough to have one of the very few Pine Marten populations in the country.

"They were rediscovered in Shropshire in 2015 - at that time, that was the only known Pine Marten population in England.

"Since then, Stuart Edmunds and the Shropshire Pine Marten project, led by Shropshire Wildlife Trust, have been working hard to learn more about our Pine Martens and help them expand their populations.

“These special animals are so beautiful and are a key species for Stepping Stones because they need habitat connectivity to survive. They need big patches of woodland but they also need those patches to be linked together, so they’re a great flagship animal for the project. By creating more areas of woodland habitat for them we can help them move through the landscape and expand their populations.”

Stepping Stones is calling out for people to lend their support to the Pine Marten project.

Charlie added: “We need help installing camera traps at various locations across the project area. If Pine Martens are seen on the footage, we’ll put up den boxes to give these amazing creatures a better chance of breeding successfully and producing the next generation of Shropshire Pine Martens.”

As well as work to support for Pine marten project, Stepping Stones is also working with local farmers, supporting local community wildlife groups, and carrying out a programme of nature conservation work such as hedgerow planting and meadow creation.

There are lots of opportunities for volunteers to get involved and help with this important work.

If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Charlie Bell

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