Bold new plans for nature recovery area in Peterborough revealed

Plans to create a new nature recovery area in Peterborough are to be launched.

Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 7:01 am
A nightingale at Castor Hanglands. Photo: Sarah Lambert

The Langdyke Countryside Trust will unveil the project at its annual meeting on Friday (September 13) at Castor Church.

The project, supported by Peterborough City Council, Nene Park Trust, PECT, the Wildlife Trusts, Natural England, local parishes and Milton Estate has a number of aims, including creating new jobs, boosting tourism and increasing key wildlife habitats.

The large area covered by the project is countryside in the west of the city, south of the Welland, north of the Nene and east of the A1.

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Swaddywell Pit, one of the Langdyke reserve

Launching the vision, Richard Astle, chair of the Langdyke Countryside Trust, said, “The heritage landscape west of Peterborough is very special and has strong links with the poet John Clare.

“As residents we want the countryside around us to be an area where nature is at the heart of our lives. Where bees and other insects thrive, not decline, and where there are far more, not less, ponds, meadows, wild-flowers, hedgerows and trees.

“And where people can walk or cycle out in safety and tranquillity across this thriving countryside, enjoying the sights and sounds and even the silence of the natural world; enjoying dark skies and cherishing the heritage – both natural and man-made- around them.

“Our plans for John Clare Countryside are ambitious, but achievable, and will bring great benefits for people and for nature.”

The John Clare Countryside project is also supported by Natural Cambridgeshire which recently outlined plans to double the amount of nature across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.

The project’s aims are to:

. Deliver significant increases in key wildlife habitats, particularly those of limestone grassland, wetland and arable farmland

. Raise levels of local pride, aspiration and community cohesion by helping local communities to understand, appreciate and enjoy their local natural and built heritage of the area

. Pilot and champion best practice sustainable development in all aspects of future development within the area including sustainable techniques of land management both on and off the existing nature reserves

. Promote public health and wellbeing, providing large areas of accessible green open space for the people of Peterborough

. Create new jobs and economic opportunities within the area, allied to the delivery of these objectives, particularly in tourism, visitor attractions and farming and nature conservation.

Cllr Peter Hiller, ward councillor for Glinton and Castor on Peterborough City Council, said: “This is an exciting project led by local people, landowners and businesses.

“The council is keen to support its delivery. We have recently declared a climate change emergency and we know as well that the people of Peterborough value the wonderful countryside around the city.

“John Clare Countryside is a way to address both issues – we can create new habitats where nature thrives and carbon is captured, and also where people can relax and enjoy the leisure opportunities it will bring.”

Matthew Bradbury, chief executive of Nene Park Trust, said, “Nene Park Trust will play its part in delivering the vision of John Clare Countryside.

“We have large land-holdings in the area and want to encourage more people to visit the wonderful countryside along the River Nene and to enhance the area for nature.”

Tickets for Friday’s meeting can be booked at