The Landscape Recovery Project is an ambitious 20-year environmental project driven by this pioneering generation of farmers and landowners in the North East Cotswolds. This is long-term, large-scale land-use change for habitat creation and ecological recovery that is intertwined with the farming system.
With UK government DEFRA (ELMS) seed funding over 2023-24 we are building the project foundations; pooling expertise through pilot projects, developing targeted farm plans, managing data, identifying new markets and engaging investors and partners ready to launch this milestone project in early 2025.
The changes we expect to deliver across over 3000 hectares in the next two decades include: Restored river channels which are reconnected to their floodplains, which will reduce downstream flooding of settlements, landslips and pollution Enhanced floodplain meadows and other habitats reedbeds, wetlands and wet fen that help retain soil nutrients and will naturally filter and remove pollutants Improved populations of water voles, kingfishers, curlew, brown trout, eels and other ‘relatable’ species. More keystone plant species such as water crow’s foot Create habitats to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere with more trees, woods and scrub, and with hedgerows and agroforestry that stabilise soils and reduce runoff, with planting that links high value habitats This natural capital in the Northeast Cotswolds is unlocked and utilised by farm businesses of all sizes Greater public engagement with nature and farmland that generates more support of a local and direct food supply chain
The Cluster’s aim is to restore the functions of three key rivers, their floodplains and wider catchments; Evenlode, Glyme and Dorn. Farming practices will shift to enable farms to remain productive and farm businesses to be profitable while bringing multiple benefits. We will create a landscape that builds nature-based resilience for climate, flooding, biodiversity and water quality.
Between 2025 and 2045 there will be annual payments/ha blended from private and public finance sources, including flood alleviation investment, carbon markets and Biodiversity Net Gain. There are over 60 farms covering 25,000 hectares of the Evenlode valley working together, from which we have a semi-contiguous string of parcels amounting to 3,300 hectares entering going into the Landscape Recovery scheme. This project encapsulates the Cluster’s vision and takes our people, our learning and resources to scale. We will design, create and restore over 3000 hectares of interconnected habitat floodplain, lakes, ponds and wetland habitats as well as woodland habitat restoration, planting and natural regeneration. This project will benefit not only farmers but also communities in the wider landscape, investors and buyers, and also government and regulators.