National Lottery Heritage Fund

From coast to coast and dale to downs, the National Lottery Heritage Fund has funded nature conservation projects that allow our wildlife to flourish by protecting habitats through restoration and empowering local communities.

Five people, looking out over a body of water, filming the view on their phones.
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Wildlife Trail to Loch Lomond 

RSPB Loch Lomond nature reserve is home to a mosaic of habitats, nestled on the banks of the eponymous loch. From Ospreys plunging feet first to catch fish in the summer, to skeins of Pink-footed Geese throughout the winter, the reserve offers visitors unmissable nature moments.  However,  prior to the Wildlife Trail to Loch Lomond project, the loch was not accessible from the main trails. 

With thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Brown Forbes Memorial Fund and the Horace and Helen Gillman Trusts, a new path has been constructed to connect the reserve to the loch for visitors. Designed to deliver a more inclusive experience, the accessible 1.3km trail, with areas of boardwalk, winds from the car park through areas of fen, ancient woodland and wetland before reaching the banks of the loch.

Since opening in 2022, the path has won several awards, including Land Manager Walking Champion in the Scottish Walking Awards.  

Bluebells cover the woodland floor surrounded by tall trees.

It has also received an abundance of positive testimonials from visitors: 

“This has been one of the most amazing walks we have ever done with so much wildlife…”  

“What an amazing reserve! The work you’ve done to make it more accessible is outstanding. Great for families”  

The project funding has also enabled us to design and deliver an activity and events programme, increasing our engagement with local schools and community groups, including Tullochan, Green Routes, and Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).  

Protecting Hyde’s Heath

Hyde’s Heath sits in the UK’s first Super National Nature Reserve: Purbeck Heath. Surrounding Poole Harbour, the Super NNR has become a wildlife haven. Here, visitors can be treated to glimpses of soaring White-tailed Eagles and fishing Ospreys while the heathland habitat holds host to all six of the UK’s native reptiles. 
Formerly 67 hectares of tree plantation, Hyde’s Heath borders RSPB Arne and Arne Moors. Thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the land at Hyde’s Heath was acquired by the RSPB in 2019 and is now undergoing an ambitious transformation to restore invaluable low-lying heathland. Non-native pines are being removed to allow for the growth of gorse and heather which supports scarce species, such as the Dartford Warbler.
Hyde’s Heath is now home to new trails, where visitors can soak up views across the Wareham channel towards Corfe Castle and learn about the importance of heathland habitats. 
The project has engaged local people with their heritage, especially those who are currently under-represented at RSPB Arne, including children and families, young people, and people with health and wellbeing needs. The funding allowed for the introduction of a shuttle bus, which operated seasonally between Wareham and RSPB Arne, allowing for easier, wider and more affordable access. To date it has provided 1,402 passenger trips!

View over Hyde's Heath in summer.

RSPB NI Covid Response Programme

The National Lottery Heritage Fund provided funding called Covid Recovery Programme from Department for Communities (NI) to help respond to the risks that COVID-19 brought to RSPB NI.

This grant went towards RSPB NI Covid Response Program, making our sites safer for all when reopening by providing the funds for PPE, screens, sanitisers and signage detailing our safety guidance.

Staff were kept digitally connected by providing iPhones, mobile camera equipment and nest cams. This allowed for live streaming from RSPB NI reserves to social media platforms, keeping our followers engaged and involved in conservation work during the pandemic.

The funds also allowed for essential repairs to be done at RSPB NI sites and helped to support staff working on valuable conservation work.

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