GREEN BRITAIN: Farmlands helping climate as rewilding projects turn tide on flood fears

Green Britain: John Ingham and Dale Vince discuss campaign

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It is turning low-grade farmland into part of a flood plain once more, creating a tidal wetland for birds such as redshank and curlew as well as otters and harvest mice. The scheme on the River Tamar will also reduce flooding at the Trust’s Cotehele estate in Cornwall and fight climate change by trapping carbon in the river sediment.

The project is the latest in a series of rewilding schemes. Others include the restoration of The Fens in Cambridgeshire and the reintroduction of white storks at the Knepp Estate in Sussex.

The Daily Express is also backing a rewilding project as part of its Make More Space for Nature campaign. With eco-entrepreneur Dale Vince, we are fundraising to help the RSPB expand its Franchises Lodge reserve in the New Forest. Generous readers have already donated £27,000 towards the £90,000 target to buy 91-acre Horse Common, which will be transformed from forestry plantations to sandy heathland, mixed woodland and valley mires.

The RSPB believes reaching £90,000 will unlock the remaining £360,000 cost from other donors.

The National Trust’s Cotehele scheme is part of a larger programme of habitat creation throughout the Tamar catchment area. The Tamar will reclaim about four acres of farmland created by the building of an embankment in 1850. It is thought the land was once rich with wildlife and fauna, but has since been grazed by cattle. 

The work will also alleviate regular flooding at Cotehele Quay car park. The £250,000 project is in partnership with the Environment Agency and supported by Natural England and Plymouth University. 

Alastair Cameron, project manager at the National Trust says: “By creating wetland habitat similar to that found before the embankment was built, we can make space for nature. As the waters flood into the field we’ll start to see changes in the habitat which should attract typical Tamar river species.”

Tony Flux, also from the Trust, said: “Working with nature rather than against it is a more sustainable and long-term solution.

  • TO help buy Horse Common please send cheques made payable to “RSPB” to Daily Express Horse Common appeal, RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL or donate via Or if you switch your mobile sim card to an Ecotalk + RSPB sim, the RSPB will get donations monthly. See

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