COP26 - Worcestershire needs action

COP26 - Worcestershire needs action

Hill Court Farm by Paul Lane

Climate action needs nature. Nature needs climate action.

A Worcestershire charity says that the nature and climate crises need to be tackled together and at speed.

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust say that the two crises are inseparable and we won’t solve either if we don’t all take action and prepare for a changing world.

If the two crises are not tackled, Worcestershire could see more extreme rainfall events and floods as well as extensive droughts that cause wildfires across heathland in the north and grasslands in the south of the county.

The charity is warning that much-loved wildlife like cuckoos and habitats like wildflower-rich grasslands that support multitudes of bees, butterflies, birds and mammals may not survive a rapidly changing climate.

Together with Wildlife Trusts across the country, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is calling on the UK Presidency of the global climate conference COP26 to tackle the nature crisis alongside the climate crisis as well as encouraging local authorities, businesses and residents across the county to do their bit.

Colin Raven, Director of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, said “Nature plays a vital role in storing carbon safely as well as providing us with clean water, clean air and much more. But our natural places are in decline and now face an even greater risk of degradation from the results of climate change that are already inevitable in the near future.

This vicious spiral of damage has to stop for all our sakes.
Colin Raven

“As well as cutting emissions we need to see at least 30% of land and sea protected for nature by 2030. This is the minimum needed to allow nature to recover and help us to avert climate disaster.

“The Government and local authorities need to embed climate action – both mitigation and adaptation – across all departments and take urgent steps to stop carbon-emitting activities, such as new road building, peat burning and trawling the seabed. We need support for businesses and industries to take action and each and every one of us needs to play our part in reducing emissions and restoring nature.

“We’ve been managing wild spaces and working with others to make their land more sustainable for many years but we’re also stepping up our efforts across our entire organisation – from changing energy suppliers to investing in a member of staff to help us reduce the carbon footprint from our day-to-day operations to zero by 2030”

The Trust own or manage 3000 acres of nature reserves that are managed for wildlife but also sequester an estimated 5900 tonnes of carbon each year. Amongst other activities the Trust is moving all its powered tools to electric, is assessing how to reduce livestock numbers without negatively impacting the conservation of wildflower-rich meadows and has embraced hybrid working to reduce commuting miles whilst looking at reducing mileage across its work even further.

It has also replaced its oil-fired heating with a biomass boiler, currently fuelled by sustainably sourced wood pellets with the associated production and transport carbon footprint renewed through sustainable forestry. It is hoped that the charity will eventually produce their own pellets from the conservation forestry that takes place in its own woodlands, further reducing the carbon footprint.

Across the county, the charity is involved in many projects to create and improve space for nature that also has positive benefits for our climate. Wetlands, grasslands, heathland and saltmarsh as well as woodlands all store carbon so ensuring their creation and restoration helps wildlife, the climate and people.


A European-funded partnership project with Worcestershire County Council, Natural Networks, saw Trust staff working with North Worcestershire Water Management to restore a stretch of the Churchill Brook. A new meandering brook channel was created along with several new ponds to create habitat for wetland wildlife like fish, dragonflies and water plants. An earthen bund was enhanced with plants for pollinating insects. The three acre site also provides flood mitigation for those living nearby.

The Trust has also been working to create wetlands on farmed land along the Bow Brook in the Forest of Feckenham. Small wetland areas on the edge of fields can filter out pollutants from entering water courses, help to reduce pressure on farmers’ pockets and our water bills, offer habitat for wildlife and capture carbon from the atmosphere.

The Trust has worked closely with Bromsgrove District Council, the Environment Agency and Severn Trent Water to create and improve wetland habitat in Sanders Park. As well as improving the area to help water voles, a species that has been lost from 94% of places that it had previously been found in, the new wetland helps with flood alleviation and sequestering and storing carbon.

Avon Meadows Community Wetlands and Local Nature Reserve, owned by Pershore Town Council and Wychavon District Council was created to alleviate flooding from surface water and the River Avon.  Worcestershire Wildlife Trust was involved from the beginning and was instrumental in the design and creation of floodplain meadows and wetland features that are now home to a variety of wildlife and an active community group.


The Trust’s Piper’s Hill and Dodderhill Common nature reserve is one of the best sites in the region for veteran trees. The ancient trees here are amongst the Trust’s 1290 acres of woodland across the county that together sequester an estimated 3700 tonnes of carbon per year. 

The Trust is also looking for sites adjacent to its own nature reserves to ensure that wildlife has space to move and adapt as changes to our climate take hold. This will also allow the Trust to look at restoring and creating more opportunities, including natural regeneration of woodland and tree planting where appropriate so that the land can capture even more carbon.


After buying the site in 2001, the Trust embarked on its largest wetland restoration project at Hill Court Farm near Upton upon Severn. The intensive farmland was situated on what had previously been wildlife-rich wet grassland and in the last 20 years the Trust has gradually been rewetting the fields, seeing breeding lapwing and providing a winter home for thousands of ducks. As well as helping to alleviate downstream flooding, the site also stores and sequesters over 19 tonnes of carbon each year.

An estimated 97% of meadows in England have been lost since the 1940s (20% of those that remain are in Worcestershire) and floodplain meadows are even rarer. The Trust owns and manages more than 300 acres of meadows across the county, providing wildflowers that support insects, birds and mammals as well as locking carbon into the soils and plant roots.


Embarking on the largest restoration project in its history by acquiring 95 acres of arable land at Dropping Well Farm between Kidderminster, Bewdley and Stourport, the Trust is also working with partners to create and restore habitat on adjacent land. Together, the whole area will offer 600 acres of mixed habitat and the largest block of heathland in the county.

The long-term project will see the arable land initially reverted to low-intensity cropping and eventually to heathland like the neighbouring nature reserves owned by the Trust and Wyre Forest District Council. Together with Natural Network partners, Worcestershire County Council, the Trust is also working with the Wyre Forest District Council team to improve habitat on the adjacent Burlish Meadows.

A community engagement officer will work with local people to help them understand more about the importance of this land for wildlife and for the planet as well as how to create space for nature in their own communities.


As well as working with farmers across the county to connect habitat for wildlife, at the Trust's headquarters Lower Smite Farm, the charity has been working to improve the health of the soil and create more areas for predators of crop pests following years of intensive agriculture. Improving and creating space for nature in this way not only aids wildlife and stores more carbon but also means that land managers don't need to use as much pesticides and synthetic fertilisers.

Gardens and community spaces

A new project to inspire and encourage communities in Worcester to make space for nature and live more sustainable lives is about to be launched by the Trust. Wilder Worcestershire, funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, will see the charity build partnerships with community groups, housing associations, schools, faith organisations and residents to help nature to recover and to make access to nature more equal, diverse and inclusive.

Colin added “We all have a part to play in ensuring a safe and healthy future for our planet. Whether you’re a land manager, a business, a community group or an individual, there are simple and easy things that we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint, adapt to climate change and make a big difference to the natural world – from reconsidering what we eat, how we travel and how we use resources like water and energy.

“One simple way to help ourselves and nature is by planting more around our homes and communities to lower high temperatures and soak up floodwater.

“We have more ideas on what people can do on the climate change pages of our website.”

The Trust is one of 46 Wildlife Trusts across the UK calling on the Government to commit to take urgent steps to stop carbon-emitting activities and to take action in the areas of peat, farming, woodland, planning and our marine environment that will allow natural processes to be restored to help both nature and the climate.