Broughton Hall Nature Recovery Programme

Overview

Located in the foothills of the awe-inspiring Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Broughton Hall Estate comprises 1200 hectares of ancient parkland, woodland and moors. Home of the Tempest family since 1097, it enjoys a rich history stretching back over the centuries.

The estate is now looking to invest in nature recovery: the Broughton Hall Nature Recovery Programme will eventually see around one-third of the estate rewilded, with the aim of delivering a wide range of ecological and societal benefits. This will involve the planting of one million trees, the natural regeneration of trees, scrub and grasslands, the creation and restoration of wetland habitats, sensitive woodland management, and extensive grazing with rare breeds. Two-thirds of the estate will continue to support traditional farming.

Project brief

In October 2021, Ecosulis was commissioned to carry out detailed bird surveys of the Broughton Hall Estate, in support of the Broughton Hall Nature Recovery Programme. Forestry England were concerned that planting trees on fields that had formerly been grazed by sheep could negatively impact populations of ground nesting birds such as lapwings, curlews and skylarks, and had requested such surveys be carried out before permission for planting was given.

Ecosulis duly carried out a detailed assessment of site features and conditions across various fields, enabling Forestry England to assess their suitability for such species. In addition, we looked at additional fields as potential planting sites on the estate, providing a comprehensive appraisal of their condition against key criteria set out in the FC-NE Joint Guidance for afforestation proposed on or near nationally important upland breeding wader areas. All of these fields fall within or near designated Upland Breeding Bird Areas. They also all fall within an area identified as priority habitat for curlew and lapwing.

YEAR

2021-2022

Impact

manage Biodiversity

The Broughton Hall Estate Nature Recovery Programme will lead to the creation of a more functional and resilient natural landscape, capable of supporting a richer and more abundant biodiversity.

Protect Habitats

The meadows, moorland and moorland fringe habitats within and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park are home to nationally important numbers of upland bird species, such as the curlew and lapwing. It is critical to ensure such habitats are protected within proposed nature recovery initiatives. Rewilding intensively grazed upland fields within the Broughton Hall Estate, which can now go ahead, will create valuable habitat for a range of wildlife species.

empower-us-to-act People

Allowing nature to recover safeguards and enhances the wide range of benefits that nature provides to people, such as the locking up of atmospheric carbon, cleaner air, fresher water, reduced flood risk, improved health and wellbeing, and greater nature-based economic opportunities.

How we added value

Clearance for tree planting

Our detailed assessment of the fields on the Broughton Hall Estate found that all but two were unsuitable for nesting upland birds. On this basis we recommended that the need for bird surveys across all sites be reconsidered, and that tree planting proposals be supported for all sites, other than the two fields in question (where further bird surveys will need to be completed).

Tree planting marks the beginning of Broughton Hall Estate’s ambitious nature recovery programme. Over the coming years this will see around 400 hectares transformed to a much wilder state, increasing biodiversity and wildlife.

Safeguarding the UK’s upland bird populations

The UK uplands, while perhaps not the highest and most mountainous regions, are nonetheless important habitats for many wildlife species. Within the UK there is a current drive to increase native woodland cover, to deliver climate change mitigation and adaptation and other environmental and socio-economic benefits. With much of this new woodland likely to be created on lower quality agricultural land, increases in marginal upland areas are anticipated. It is important to determine the value of this habitat for priority upland birds, such as the curlew and lapwing, as well as other bird species such as the redshank, oystercatcher, red grouse and hen harrier. Upland farms, and the way that they are managed, are critical to the future of many UK wader species, many of which are in decline.

Testimonial

“The knowledge and expertise of Ecosulis was invaluable in conducting the necessary site assessments. Their assistance has helped us to move forward with our nature recovery programme, with this season’s tree planting now looking more possible. We would absolutely recommend their professional, knowledgeable and friendly service to anyone who wants to embark on a nature recovery journey.”

Kelly Hollick, Broughton Hall Estate

Want to learn more about rewilding and nature recovery?

Read more insights or explore our previous work.