Our vision for Devon

Our vision

Wood sorrel. Photo, Guy Edwardes/2020VISION

Some of the best wildlife in the UK

Devon’s natural environment is among the best in the country, but it's a pale shadow of what it once was

Species in decline

More than 60% of species are in decline, and the pressures on our natural heritage are getting ever more intense.

Just as concerning, a growing number of people have little or no meaningful engagement with the natural environment in their day to day lives. As a consequence, they do not understand it and do not attribute much value to it.

East Devon landscape

Connecting people and landscapes

Our vision is for these alarming trends to turn around. There will be many more, bigger and better connected areas where wildlife could flourish. They will be properly looked after, and a joy for people to visit and live in.

Our vision isn’t simply about protecting what hasn’t yet been destroyed; it embraces large-scale, ambitious efforts to create new wild areas where natural processes can operate on a grand scale and where people can experience a genuine sense of awe.

Devon Wildlife Trust's Marsland nature reserve looking out over the sea

Photo, Dave Chamberlain

Wildlife rich landscapes

In these wildlife rich landscapes, rare species like the marsh fritillary butterfly will become common once again, and formerly native species like the beaver will return. The persecution of iconic birds of prey and the needless killing of dolphins, whales and other marine mega-fauna will be a thing of the past.

Our vision is of a nation where the natural environment is regarded as just as important as the economy. Where it is valued every bit as much as growth, and where the benefits that natural assets such as rivers and wetlands provide society are properly taken into account; not just by scientists but by politicians, economists and financiers.

We believe the natural environment should form an integral part of all our country’s plans, whether for new housing, roads, schools or energy. Government and private enterprise will plan their activities with the interests of wildlife in mind, and government at all levels will be held accountable for the state of nature.

If our vision becomes reality, nowhere should be able to claim that it has a better natural environment than Devon or a population that values it more highly.
Harry Barton
Devon Wildlife Trust
Children stream dipping

Nature and wellbeing

Everyone in Devon will have an opportunity to access, enjoy and benefit from wildlife. The natural environment will become a prominent part of the National Curriculum, and the NHS will regard experiencing wildlife and accessing green space as being as normal a treatment as taking a prescription medicine.

Our hope is that everyone will love and value wildlife, play an active part in protecting it and feel proud that they are doing so.

Making a world of difference

Our vision is focused on Devon, but we want the best of what we can achieve here to be replicated elsewhere. Equally, we hope to learn from the most inspiring work elsewhere in the UK and abroad and be prepared to put it into practice here.

If our vision becomes reality, nowhere should be able to claim that it has a better natural environment than Devon or a population that values it more highly.

Help our vision become a reality