Shropshire Star

Bright future for nature and wildlife in the Shropshire Hills thanks to National Trust-led project

The National Trust has praised a local conservation project which has delivered "visible and measurable benefits" for nature since 2021.

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Katie Appleby fencing, headge and tre planting. Photo: Charlie Bell

The Stepping Stones project, in the Shropshire Hills, has delivered a range of events, engagements and workdays to improve habitat connectivity across the Long Mynd and Stiperstones in the last two years.

It comes following the awarding of £500,000 in funding to the Stepping Stones project under DEFRA’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund back in 2021.

Since then, 21,600 trees have been planted; 75 hectares of habitat has been created or restored and workers have created conditions for 150 hectares of future hay meadows.

A total of 20 farmers and landowners have been engaged in nature friendly farming and 65 volunteer work days have been attended by more than 700 volunteers.

Charlie Bell, project officer for Stepping Stones said: “We’re really proud that the project has pioneered a collaborative approach to nature conservation work in the Shropshire Hills.

“Thanks to the funding, we’ve been able to work with partners to create or improve areas of important wildlife habitat like flower-rich grassland and woodland.

"We’ve helped to create new hedgerows, and restored road verges, which will act as a super highway network for species like dormice, bumblebees and bats.

"Over the past 18 months, volunteers have helped plant over 5km of new hedgerows in the area.

“Whilst it’s great to look back and celebrate our successes under the Green Recovery programme, there isn’t time to stand still.

"Nature is in crisis and needs everyone’s help. If you’d like to find out more about the project and how to be involved, please get in touch.”

Patches of wildlife-friendly habitat (‘stepping stones’) and wildlife corridors such as hedgerows, verges and streams which used to link them are in decline in the Shropshire Hills.

The mammals, birds and insects that use them to move around the landscape are under threat.

To find out more about the project or to volunteer, email or visit

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