Conservation Fund Projects

2022 projects

Save our Curlew

Shropshire Ornithological Society - grant £2,000  

This is a joint project with the Upper Clun and Clee Hill Community Wildlife Group to improve breeding success of curlew through action on the ground.  35+ volunteers are involved to help find the curlew nests.  Once located, electric fencing is put up around the nests to protect the eggs from predation and agricultural activities.  Radio tags are fitted to hatched chicks to track them to find out how they use the landscape and what happens to them.  The project will report its findings to local and national forums. Understanding the reasons for low levels of chick survival is the key to an effective local and national conservation plan.  

Bushmoor Verges Project

Bushmoor Verges Group – grant £1,285 

This project is enabling the volunteers of the Bushmoor Verges Group to continue to restore the verges in Bushmoor as good habitat for wildflowers, invertebrates, birds and small mammals.  The practical work includes removal of dominant species such as Hogweed from the verges, cutting, collecting seed and scarifying to encourage a diversity of flowering plants.  These activities will be documented throughout the year and experiences and knowledge gained shared with others to encourage best practice in managing local roadside verges.    

All Stretton Playground Nature Enhancement

Restoring Shropshire’s Verges Project – grant £730 

This project is enabling volunteers to create a wildflower meadow and new hedgerow on the site of a children’s playground in All Stretton.  This will create an opportunity for local and visiting families to get closer to nature and receive health and wellbeing benefits from contact with nature whilst using the play area.  The area will be roped off through the winter to allow the seeds to establish.  New play equipment is being installed by the All Stretton Village Society.  

Verges, Hedges & Churchyards Project

Restoring Shropshire’s Verges Project – grant £2,000 

The grant is awarded to facilitate collaboration between three existing nature conservation projects in the Shropshire Hills (verges, hedgerows and burial grounds) to enable them to achieve a bigger impact by linking habitats and enhancing wildlife corridors/networks.  The project will identify community sites, such as care homes, schools, clinics and pubs to spark interest in developing mini meadows, hedgerow an/or verge restoration projects.  Community engagement and recruiting volunteers is key to all these projects and a series of public events will be held to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get involved in local conservation activities. 

Llanfair Triangle for Nature & People

Llanfair Waterdine Community Trust – grant £1,000 

This is a community project to look after a local site ‘the triangle’ close to Llanfair Hill, and alongside the Offa’s Dyke National Trail.   The funding will support a basic ecological survey to find out what is there in terms of plants, invertebrates and birds and to advise on how to best manage the site. The area supports breeding curlew, and the survey will also act as a training session for volunteers to discover more about the wildlife in this area.  Some habitat management work is also planned, which may include bracken control.  As the triangle a popular spot with walkers and locals, a bench and information panel are also planned as part of this project. The bench is being made locally using local materials. 

The deadline for the 2nd round of funding this year is 7th July 2022.

The Conservation Fund is made up with donations from Friends of Shropshire Hills AONB subscriptions, the Millichope Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Martin Wills Wildlife Maintenance Trust and individual contributions.


2021 projects

Pollinator garden at Lower Bush Farm

The farm is a not-for-profit care farm which welcomes adults with learning disabilities, teenagers with mental health difficulties and children and young people with a variety of special educational needs and disabilities. The project enabled the young people to create a pollinator garden as part of their Countryside Management unit to learn about pollinators, healthy habitats and how to increase numbers at the farm and at home. 

Lower Bush Farm CIC – grant £2,000  Project Report 

Branching Out

This project delivered affordable outdoor education and awareness-raising activities relating to the Shropshire Hills, and its conservation. The sessions combined Forest School education with local nature knowledge, professional knowledge, and with a flare of seasonal relevance. The project was as inclusive as possible by welcoming 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.

Toni Pettitt– grant £1,780  Project Report

Norbury Hill ecological survey & bracken control

Norbury Hill is an important conservation ‘stepping stone’ between the Long Mynd and Stiperstones. Working with the neighbouring farm, MMCLT commissioned a baseline ecological survey and report to be written for Norbury Hill (250 acres) to guide medium/ long term conservation management.  The hill supports breeding skylark, meadow pipits and is a feeding ground for kestrel, curlew and snipe.  The grant also supported volunteers to carry out bracken control using had tools.

Middle Marches Community Land Trust (MMCLT) - grant £1,500

Project Report & Ecological Survey

Hopton Castle Verges & Tree Planting

Hopton Castle is open to the public. The grant enabled the local community to replant trees in the grounds of the castle which have been lost in recent storms. Wildflowers were also planted on the approaches to the castle and the motte to enhance biodiversity and provide an attractive space to enjoy and picnic in for visitor to the castle and local residents.

Hopton Castle Preservation Trust – grant £816.89  final report

Save our Curlew

This was a joint project with the Stretton Community Wildlife Group to improve Curlew breeding success in the Stretton area by protecting nests using electric fences to protect the eggs from predation and agricultural activities, fitting radio tags to hatched chicks to track them to find out how they use the landscape, and what happens to them.  Volunteers helped with sightings and surveys.  Understanding the reasons for low levels of chick survival is the key to an effective local and national conservation plan.

Shropshire Ornithological Society - grant £1,000 Project Summary &  Final Project Report

Sustainable Charcoal Making

This project enabled members of the Knighton Community Woodland Group to make charcoal using the small timber and brash coppiced from their woodlands.  The grant funded the purchase of a charcoal retort and equipment needed to make and sell sustainably produced charcoal.  Two one-day training courses were held to demonstrate charcoal making using a retort to other interested community groups in the Shropshire Hills.

Knighton Community Woodland Group – grant £1,293.75  Project Report

Bushmoor Verges Project

This project brought together the residents of Bushmoor hamlet to restore their local roadside verges to encourage wildflowers and create wildlife corridors. The project involved an ecological survey, ground works and planting/seeding as recommended by the report. Volunteers helped with the surveys and in planting/seeding the verge.  Photographs were taken to record the verge progress. 

Bushmoor Verges Group – grant £627  Project Report & Case Study

Experiencing Biodiversity

This project introduced secondary school pupils at Bishop’s Castle Community College to biodiversity and its value in local woodlands, wild places and the local environment.  The students carried out practical activities as part of the school’s fortnightly enrichment sessions, learning how good land management can increase biodiversity.  Activities included ‘wilding’ the green areas around the college, raising trees in pots for planting out, and planting a sensory garden. 

Lightfoot Enterprises - grant £2,000  Project Report


The following projects were awarded a grant in 2020, but most of them took place in 2021 due to Covid restrictions in place. 

Restoring Roadside verges

Restoring the roadside verges in Edgton started a couple of years ago, supported by the Conservation Fund.  This grant was awarded to buy wildflower plugs and seeds to improve damaged verges and to extend verge restoration around the village. Discussions with Shropshire Council Highway Department continue regarding verge management and cutting regime to enhance the verges for wildlife.

Edgton Village Meeting – grant £1,000

The aim is to preserve and enhance the roadside verges and hedgerows in the village to provide valuable habitat for plants, insects and small mammals.  The village ‘Wildflower Verges Group’ bought together range of people who previously didn’t know each other, and it is hoped that wildflower rich verges will give villagers a sense of wellbeing.  The grant will support a professional survey of all the village verges and hedgerows to draw up a plan for future work.  These surveys will also be a training opportunity for volunteers.  Cutting, raking, scarifying and seeding the verges will also be undertaken by volunteers.  

Little Stretton Village Society – grant £795.50

Grassland for Curlew

This project is trialling different grassland management techniques to improve suitability for breeding curlew.  Working with volunteer farming partners in the Shropshire Hills, the project will trial and cost alternative and novel mowing regimes to vary the height of grass. The aim is to provide a better food source for the curlew chicks and greater protection from some predators.  The results will be used to inform future management and include costs per acre per operation. 

Curlew Country - grant £2,000

Exploring Wild Wood

This project introduced secondary school pupils at Bishop’s Castle Community College to the diversity of woodlands, demonstrating how they can be managed for enjoyment, biodiversity and for wood fuel production.  The students visit different woodland sites in the AONB to carry out practical activities including tree planting, building shelters, woodland management, a fungi foray and exploring woodland wildlife. The project will also be sharing its knowledge and activities with a group of teachers who have set up Marches Climate Education Group at a workshop being held in Hereford.

Lightfoot Enterprises - grant £1,900

Craven Arms Young Rangers

20 young people, aged 10-18, helped to develop a management/ activity plan for a local woodland site.  They will identify what is in the woodland, what is the potential to improve habitat and what practical work needs doing to make a training base for future Young Ranger activity.  The six woodland activities days will involve tree and plant identification, mapping species and places of interest, clearing and creating space for a base and better access. 

South Shropshire Youth Forum - grant £1,684  read project report

Save our Curlew

This is a joint partnership project with the Upper Clun and Clee Hill Community Wildlife Groups.  The project aims to improve Curlew breeding success in the Upper Clun and Clee hills area, through action on the ground.  70+ volunteers from the two community wildlife groups will helped with sightings and surveys. 

Shropshire Ornithological Society - grant £2,000 Project Report

Harvesting Meadow Plant Seed for Sward Enhancement

The grant supported the purchase of a seed harvester to collect meadow plant seed from local species-rich meadows.  The seed will be used on suitable areas of currently species-poor grasslands, including Marches Meadow Group members’ fields, lawns, road verges, public open spaces, school grounds and churchyards in and around the Shropshire Hills.  The aims are to increase the number and area of species-rich grasslands and increase the opportunities for meadow plants and animals to move between existing meadows. 

Marches Meadow Group - grant £2,000  Final Project Report

Mammal & Bat Recording

Abdon District Community Wildlife Group - grant £300

A small grant was awarded to enable the Community Wildlife Group (CWG) to purchase a bat detector and identification guides.  With help from Shropshire Bat Group and Mammal Group, the CWG plan to record the bat and mammal species in their area.  Other local CWGs will be welcome to borrow the detector.


2019-20 Projects

Grants were awarded to 11 projects in 2019-20. Scroll down for project summaries and reports.  

Brynmawr Farm Summer Club

This is a new one-day-a-week club for young people (aged 11-14) through the summer holidays at Brynmawr Organic Farm.  Weekly topics will look at different elements of the natural environment and practical conservation work.  Hands-on activities will aim to promote an active lifestyle and increasing self-confidence, self-belief and self-responsibility.  A Pettitt – grant £1,490  Project Report

Sowing the Seed of God’s Acre

This project is surveying 10 burial grounds in the AONB, where little or nothing is known about the flora and fauna.  Grassland management sessions and a meadow management training day will support volunteers and share best practice.  Yellow Rattle seed from meadows in the AONB will be collected and sown into the long grass area of churchyards.  Yellow Rattle suppresses grass growth, making the management of these sites more sustainable in the long term. Caring for God’s Acre - grant £1,500  Project Report

Hills Stories 2019

This project is helping young people to explore and engage with Shropshire Hills landscape, its wildlife and heritage.  Working with youth leaders, creative digital media practitioners, and other artists, the participants will use digital technology (eg iPods / iPads / digital cameras) to reflect on their experiences and create their own physical and digital media responses to share online.  An exhibition will be held to showcase their workNick Fogg & Mike Smart – grant £1,500  Project Report

Shropshire Favourite Bird Sites (booklet)

This new booklet will highlight 20 wildlife sites in Shropshire which are good for bird-watching (8 are in the AONB).  It is aimed at beginners.  The grant is helping with printing costs.  It will be launched in September at the RSPB South Shropshire group 50th anniversary event.  All monies raised goes towards helping migrating birds.  RSPB South Shropshire Group - grant £500  Project Report

The Shropshire Barytes Industry

The barytes industry in the Shropshire Hills was of national importance and a substantial employer during the first half of the twentieth century.  This project is undertaking practical work at two sites; Cothercott and the Bog Mine, to enable volunteers to continue their survey of the sites and help to reveal more of our barytes heritage.  Shropshire Caving and Mining Club - grant £1,000  Project Report photographs


This project will deliver six sessions for 10 young people aged 13-16 who have been referred onto the programme by Church Stretton Secondary School.  The young people play an active part in the development of the sessions to help them appreciated their local landscape. South Shropshire Youth Forum – grant £1,500  Project Report

Upper Onny Balsam Bashing

The eradication of Himalayan balsam continues in the Upper Onny catchment.  This year’s focus is the West Onny, along Criftin Brook and at the Bog.  These stretches of river will be surveyed and the balsam cleared by volunteer work parties.  The project also aims to increase awareness of the issues of habitat loss and encourage the community and landowners to help reverse the spread of invasive species in this part of the AONB. Upper Onny Wildlife Group - grant £1,500  Project Report

People & Plants 

The project is delivering 8 training sessions (walks, surveys and workshops) in the Shropshire Hills for people interested in plants.  The sessions will teach people how to identify and record veteran trees, fungi, ferns and mosses as well as flowering plants, and aims encourage new people to get involved in active conservation. Upper Onny Wildlife Group - grant £500  Project Report

Whinchat Conservation on the Long Mynd

This is a Pilot Project to test and evaluate proposals for a Whinchat conservation project on the Long Mynd.  Whinchats are wholly restricted to bracken habitats.  The project will find a sample of whinchat nests, monitor them with trail cameras, colour-ring the chicks and catch as many of the breeding adults as possible. National Trust - grant £2,500  Project Report  photographs

The Halfway House on the Wrekin

The grant will help to create a flower rich garden at the Halfway House café that’s attractive to visitors and to a range of pollinating insects.  A series of six events will be held to increase visitor awareness of the uniqueness of the Wrekin, its natural heritage, the woodland, and the special wildlife it supports giving priority to the birds in the area, pollinating insects and the plants that they use.  J. Joy - grant £1,283  Project Report

Youth in Woods

This project introduces secondary school pupils at Bishop’s Castle Community College to the richness and diversity of woodlands, and demonstrates how they can be managed for enjoyment, biodiversity and for wood fuel production.  Students will carry out practical activities including building shelters, woodland management (cutting and logging), making things from objects found in the woodland, and exploring the woodland diversity.  Lightfoot – grant £1,500.  Project Report