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Nature Recovery

Nature Recovery Plan

Some serious declines in priority habitats and species

The Quantock Hills supports an exceptionally wide range of habitats and wildlife. This is partly the result of the complex geology and landscape, but also the management of much of the land by farmers, including some centuries-old traditional techniques.  Despite much good management by farmers the extent and richness of these habitats has declined in recent decades. Some habitats have become fragmented and isolated and less able to support viable populations of some our most vulnerable wildlife species. Whilst the area is still exceptionally rich in habitats and wildlife, the National Landscape Team has ambitious aims to restore the Quantock Hills’ former richness and to increase connectivity of habitats across the landscape.

 Photograph by Robin Stamp 

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Woodland & Woody Habitats
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Heathland Habitats
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Grassland Habitats

New Nature Recovery Plan

The National Landscape Team has devised a Nature Recovery Plan specifically for the Quantock Hills.  This was developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholder organisations including those which are members of the  Quantock Hills National Landscape Partnership.  The plan presents maps and data on the historic and current extent of habitats and shows the declines that have occurred.  It then identifies the wide range of land use changes and many other factors that have led to these declines, and includes future threats such as invasive plants, diseases and climate change. 

Key Habitats

Similar habitats are grouped together in the report. The 3 key priority habitats are:

Actions for Nature Recovery

The final part of the plan sets out the actions required for nature recovery. This includes tasks for the  National Landscape Team but also identifies how farmers and land managers can help with this by making full use of the increased government payments that are available.  We’re keen to work with farmers to improve and extend habitats including many simple measures. We’ll help groups of farmers to work together on projects that re-join and connect up habitats on a landscape scale.

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There are many opportunities for farmers and land managers to apply for payments from the government’s grant schemes such as  Countryside Stewardship and the  Sustainable Farming Incentive.  The Quantock Hills National Landscape Team also provides funding via the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme to provide more flexible access to payments for imaginative projects.  The National Landscape team will also be bidding for nature & landscape  recovery funds as opportunities arise.

Public engagement and local communities

There are many ways that individuals, local groups and communities can help the National Landscape Team with nature recovery.  We have identified six Champion Species which are rapidly declining but also charismatic and along with other species will be used to help with our public engagement.  These include iconic species such as the adder and nightjar and those less associated with the Quantock Hills such as Brown Hairstreak butterfly or Barbastelle bats where populations within the Quantock Hills remain strong.

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