A PROJECT aiming to reverse a “catastrophic decline” in rare plants in the remote County Durham hills has secured almost quarter of a million pounds to continue its work.

Dr M.E. Bradshaw’s Teesdale Special Flora Research & Conservation Trust has been awarded £222,400 from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The grant will enable the Trust to embark on its Plants on the Edge programme to protect the rare arctic-alpine species by conducting surveys and trialling conservation methods.

The programme will be delivered in partnership with Northern Heartlands and North Pennines AONB, with support from the Raby and Strathmore estates, into 2022-23.

The award will also support Upper Teesdale Botany Group activities and work with the wider community.


Dr Margaret Bradshaw at Low Force

Dr Margaret Bradshaw at Low Force


Trust founder, Dr Margaret Bradshaw, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we will be receiving this grant.

“It’s going to help us to take the first steps to reverse the catastrophic decline in the rare flora of Teesdale. This flora is very special – it is worthy of treasuring and protecting.”

Surveys in recent years found many rare species such as hoary whitlowgrass, dwarf milkwort, Teesdale violet and the area’s iconic spring gentian have declined significantly since habitat surveys in the 1970s.


Primula farinosa

Primula farinosa

Viola rupestris

Viola rupestris


The Trust’s work is one of 90 nature projects across England to be awarded grants from the second round of the Government’s £80 million boost for green jobs and nature recovery.


Dr Margaret Bradshaw, founder of Dr M.E. Bradshaw’s Teesdale Special Flora Research & Conservation Trust, teaching

Dr Margaret Bradshaw, founder of Dr M.E. Bradshaw’s Teesdale Special Flora Research & Conservation Trust, teaching


Work will be carried out on more than 600 sites from Northumberland to Cornwall, and combined with the first round, almost a million trees will be planted, contributing towards the Government’s commitment to treble tree planting rates across England by the end of this Parliament.

Announcing the grants on Wednesday, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “The diverse and ambitious projects being awarded funding today will help environmental organisations employ more people to work on tree-planting, nature restoration and crucially, help more of the public to access and enjoy the outdoors.

“Through our £80 million Fund, we are on track to support over 2,500 jobs, plant almost a million trees and increase nature recovery at a huge scale across the country, which will help us deliver against our 25 Year Environment Plan.”

The grants were welcomed by organisations including the Environment Agency, Natural England, Forestry Commission and National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “From wetland restoration, to creating wildlife-rich habitat for bees, it is vital that we value, protect and rebuild our natural heritage.

“This new funding will not only allow projects to carry out direct conservation which is essential in protecting our biodiversity, but it will increase awareness of how and why we need to change our behaviours in order to protect our future.”

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: “By supporting jobs from Northumberland to Somerset, the Green Recovery Challenge Fund will help deliver a nature positive future.

“The fund supports young people to develop skills needed to protect nature, build back greener and prepare for climate impacts, like floods and heatwaves.”

Natural England Chair, Tony Juniper, said: “Our environmental and conservation charity sector does an incredible job in protecting, improving and restoring the natural environment for the benefit of communities and the economy.”

Forestry Commission Chair Sir William Worsley said: “This funding will help deliver thousands more trees and help us achieve our target of trebling tree planting rates in England by the end of the Parliament.

“We need to work towards net zero emissions by 2050; to address biodiversity loss; to better connect people with nature; and to create more green jobs in doing so.

“Trees are central to this and the projects being awarded these grants will have a hugely important role in helping us realise these objectives.”


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