Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area

Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area

A shared vision for landscape-scale management of the local environment

The Northern Devon NIA is one of 12 nationally important landscape scale wildlife schemes across England, identified by Defra in 2012.

NIA community work

Restoring and re-creating wildlife rich landscape

Devon Wildlife Trust leads the NIA partnership programme within the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, with 13 organisations actively involved together with local farmers, landowners and communities.

The NIA aims to restore and re-create a wildlife-rich landscape across the internationally important river Torridge catchment, and to develop stronger links between environment, economy and local communities. This is a very rural area with small mixed farms, intensive dairy units, conifer plantations and tiny settlements.

The Torridge catchment holds 35% of the UK’s remaining Culm grassland, 120 scheduled plants and animals, and important populations of two of Europe’s ten most threatened species – the marsh fritillary butterfly and the freshwater pearl mussel. Our aim is to bring together grassland, woodland, hedgerow, river and other land management into a more integrated and connected approach to the landscape.

What’s happened so far?

Our Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area programme may have a long name, but its achievements are lengthy too! Originally established in 2012 as one of 12 Nature Improvement Areas nationally, its second phase began in 2015 and is now nearing completion.

Listen to local farmers talk about how farming and wildlife can work well together, to the benefit of both, in our short film:

NIA project achievements

The first three years: 2012 - 15

In 2015 our initial Defra funding finished. The NIA partnership developed a business plan for phase 2 of the NIA programme, with ambitions for further environmental improvements and strengthening connections to the economy and local community. We have been busy developing new projects and fundraising to realise the NIA’s ambitions up to 2020 and beyond. It will take many years to achieve a sustainable, vibrant and healthy living landscape.

The Culm: a landscape that works is our most recent summary of all of the work that has been undertaken in recent years.

A summary of the research written by DWT; The Ecosystem Services provided by Culm grasslands

Current NIA projects

You can find out more about the following projects on their own dedicated pages:

Torridge Headwaters Facilitation Project

Find out more

Culm grassland. Photo, Mike Symes

Freshwater Pearl Mussel Project

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Culm Grassland Natural Flood Management Project

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The Torridge River Restoration Project

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It’s all down to teamwork

The NIA couldn’t make any difference on the ground without the efforts of all our partners, local farmers, landowners and Torridge residents. A huge thank you to everyone involved.

North Devon Catchment Partnership

North Devon Nature Improvement Area logos

Get in touch

Lisa Schneidau, NIA Manager
01409 221823 

Support our work

The vital work we do for nature depends on the support of people who care about the future of Devon’s wildlife and wild places.

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