Conservation Fund Projects

The Conservation Fund is a small grant pot to supports projects to deliver practical conservation work and/or educational and awareness-raising activities relating to the Shropshire Hills and its conservation, especially involving young people. 

Grants were awarded to 13 projects in March 2023.

  • Save our Curlew, Shropshire Ornithological Society - grant £1,000  
  • Into the Woods, Branching Out – grant £1,500
  • Wildlife Pond Project, St George’s Academy, Clun - £2,000
  • Ancient yew tree conservation, Friends of Hope Bagot churchyard - £500
  • Shropshire Hills Hay Meadow Festival, Grow Cook Learn - £500
  • Clun Memorial Hall playing field margin project, Clun Memorial Hall Charity - £2,000
  • Supporting nature recovery in the Shropshire Hills, Middle Marches Community Land Trust - £500
  • Habitat enhancement for the Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary Butterfly, Caroline Uff - £1,500
  • Swifts in towers, Caring for God’s Acre - £1,000
  • Abdon District Dormouse Project, Abdon District Community Wildlife Group - £1,997.10
  • Upper Onny River Naturalness and invasive plant survey and control, Upper Onny Wildlife Group - £1,000
  • Equipment enhancement, River Clun Monitoring Group - £1,000
  • Wildflower Meadow Creation, Glyn’s Garden CIC - £560.99

The projects have up to a year to complete their activity. As part of the grant claim, each project writes a short report to share results and any challenges that came up along the way (reports are uploaded onto this page for you to read).

 scroll down for a summary of each project


You can view previous projects by clicking on these links:

The Conservation Fund is made up with donations from Friends of Shropshire Hills subscriptions, the Millichope Foundation, Moonshine and Fuggles, and individual contributions.

To support similar projects, you can make a donaton to the Shropshire Hills Landscape Trust:

donate


The Shropshire Hills AONB Trust, Registered Charity no. 1168432

2023 Conservation Fund Projects

Save our Curlew

Shropshire Ornithological Society - grant £1,000  

A joint project with Stretton Area Community Wildlife Group to improve the breeding success of curlew in the Strettons area.  Volunteers help to identify curlew nests, which are then fenced to protect eggs from predation and agricultural activities.  Radio tags are fitted to hatched chicks to track their movements. The data is shared with local and national curlew forums to help inform an effective local and national conservation plan. 

find out more

photograph of 3 curlew chicks

woodland activities for children

Into the Woods

Branching Out – grant £1,500

Into the Woods is delivering affordable outdoor education and awareness-raising activities. The sessions are themed around ancient woodlands and combined Forest School education with seasonal local nature knowledge.  The project welcomes children (aged between 6-11 years old) of all walks of life into the woodland through being affordable to the majority and offering two free places for households with a lower-income.

find out more

read project report

Wildlife Pond Restoration Project

St George’s Academy, Clun - £2,000

Restoring the existing school pond to enable it to be used for educational purposes within lesson time, for extra curriculum clubs, by the local community such as the local nursery and scout/guide groups and offered as a resource for other local primary schools.  The school children are involved in all aspects of this project, including survey and monitoring work, site design and practical tasks.

photograph of children looking at a pond dipping id chart

photograph of Hope Bagot church and ancient yew

Ancient yew tree conservation

Friends of Hope Bagot churchyard, £500

The yew tree in the churchyard in Hope Bagot is possibly pre-Christian and as such one of the most important trees in the county. In January 2023, the tree lost two thirds of its crown.  The grant is supporting volunteers to put a chestnut pailing fence around the tree to protect it from disturbance by visitors.  The tree remains a valuable ecological habitat as it continues to breakdown over the coming decades.

more information

Shropshire Hills Hay Meadow Festival

Grow Cook Learn, £500

To support the Shropshire Hills Hay Meadow Festival which celebrates traditional hay-meadows and raises awareness of their value as an important wildlife habitat. The festival includes guided walks, have a go activities and short talks to increase interest and engagement of hay meadows, their value for wildlife and the treat that they are under.

The Festival is being held on 15th July at the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, and attracts over 500 people.

Shropshire Hills Hay Meadow Festival poster

photograph of volunteers plating the meadow at Clun Memorial Hall playground

Clun Memorial Hall playing field margin project

Clun Memorial Hall Charity, £2,000

This is a community project to develop the field margin at the edge of the Clun Memorial Hall playing field.  Following a site survey and ecological report, this project is acting on recommendations to create a series of good wildlife habitats including a wildflower meadow, mini-community orchard, improve the existing wet wood and plant native trees, including black poplar. 

read project report

Supporting nature recovery in the Shropshire Hills

Middle Marches Community Land Trust, £500

The grant is supporting a conference, titled 'Creating Stepping Stones for nature to recovery across the Shropshire Hills & beyond', and series of site visits to encourage individuals, community groups and parish councils to take action locally to help nature by restoring habitats and connectivity. 

read project report read summer activities summary

photo of a Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary Butterfly

Habitat enhancement for the Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary Butterfly

Caroline Uff, £1,500

This project is improving the condition of wet flush habitat on sites in the Stiperstones area to benefit the Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary Butterfly (SPBF).  Volunteers will be involved in the practical management and survey work.  Marsh violet (SPBF larval foodplant) will be propagated from cuttings and introduced to at least one site where it is in short supply.

read project report

Swifts in towers

Caring for God’s Acre, £1,000

This project is tackling the decline in our swift population by installing nest boxes on four church towers where existing swift populations are known to be present. The towers are ideal sites for swifts as they are tall and not surrounded by other buildings offering an unobstructed upward ascent that swifts require.

more information  read project report

photo of church at Hopesay

photo of a dormouse in a hedge

Abdon District Dormouse Project

Abdon District Community Wildlife Group, £1,997.10

The project is training local people to survey and record dormice activity to help build up a better understanding of their local distribution. Dormouse habitat will be restored by hazel understory planting and coppicing, and opportunities for targeted future habitat management work will be identified. A dormouse detection workshop is being held for local school children to involve them in the project, and a community event is planned to share project results.

more information about the group

Upper Onny River Naturalness and invasive plant survey and control

Upper Onny Wildlife Group, £1,000

The project will continue balsam control on the River Onny catchment to eliminate this invasive species from the headwater catchment. Himalayan balsam impacts upon native flora, sedimentation and the erosion of rivers. Volunteers will hand pull the balsam and will be trained to carry out river naturalness surveys to help target future river conservation work.

more information about the group

photograph of a patch of himalayan balsam

photograph of the River Clun

Equipment enhancement

River Clun Monitoring Group, £1,000

The grant is supporting the purchase of improved river monitoring equipment to enable the River Clun Monitoring Group to make accurate observations and measurements of local water quality.  The Group have fixed monitoring stations along the river network and results, including when any pollutants are entering the river system, will be shared with the Environment Agency and Shropshire Wildlife Trust and other relevant organisations.

Wildflower Meadow Creation

Glyn’s Garden CIC, £560.99

The grant is enabling the volunteers create a wildflower meadow as part of their 2-acre gardening site, near Church Stretton, which offers assisted gardening sessions to a variety of vulnerable people who benefit from this gentle exercise.  The meadow will help to increase and support biodiversity, in particular pollinating insects, and will be an area for people to sit and relax and enjoy the nature around them.

read project report

photograph of volunteers clearing the meadow site