Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Selwood Living Landscape

The Selwood landscape © Patricia StaintonThe Selwood Living Landscape programme covers a large area in the east of the county, incorporating parts of the ancient hunting forest of Selwood.

Running from Frome in the north down to Wincanton in the south, this programme is being run with local people at its very heart.

Through this programme, the Trust aims to work with local people to put nature in all aspects of our lives, restoring and reconnecting the landscape of Selwood. This is an ancient landscape teeming with wildlife, with a connected patchwork of small hay meadows and pastures, ancient woodland, species rich hedgerows, ponds and the headwater streams of the rivers Brue and Frome.

We have approached this community-based initiative by focusing on starting small early activities whilst developing longer term plans and building relationships with local people, groups and organisations. We are developing the programme around three interconnected themes:

  • Selwood Nature Map: Pulling together the information that we already know about the area in terms of the species and habitats present there.

  • Selwood Community Map: Building an understanding of the people that live and work within the Selwood area in order to develop an approach to work collaboratively with communities, and to design Living Landscape activities that balance the vision of Somerset Wildlife Trust with that of local people.

  • Selwood support: Establishing community-based development support for setting objectives and priorities and shared decision making in the heart of the Selwood communities.

Early activities have centred upon these themes and include: working with groups of neighbouring local landowners as ‘clusters’, to facilitate collective action for biodiversity enhancement on the landscape scale; piloting a school grounds nature recording survey to encourage children to learn about nature recording whilst contributing to the Selwood Nature Map;  running a Parish Bird Count, and; linking up with the Somerset Community Barn Owl project by hosting launch events in Selwood, collecting barn owl records, and running the first barn owl survey in Selwood.

We are now working on new projects for the coming year, as well as implementing a community consultation exercise, building contacts to tell the historical stories of this fascinating place, and a series of landscape inspired talks throughout the winter. 

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