The Humberhead Levels is a naturally wet landscape where four of England’s major rivers meet, forming the Humber Estuary.
Made up of arable farmland, rivers and a patchwork of wetlands, the Levels are home to cranes, bitterns and marsh harriers, as well as otters and water voles.
However, large areas of the Levels’ important wetlands have been lost to drainage schemes which keep the landscape dry for farming. This has resulted in isolated areas which are too small and disjointed for wildlife to thrive.
Working with various partners under the Humberhead Levels Partnership, we want to create and restore ribbons of wetland habitats extending along the rivers and streams, linking the major wetlands in the Derwent Ings, Aire Valley, Humber Estuary and Thorne and Hatfield Moors.
Improving this landscape for nature will also increase the wellbeing of local communities and provide new opportunities for local businesses.
By restoring and creating wetlands we can reduce flood risk to property, helping farmers and wildlife in hot dry summers and lock up carbon dioxide, a gas known to contribute to climate change.
Reserves and other protected areas are a key part of Futurescapes. They provide core areas for nature to thrive and eventually repopulate the surrounding landscapes. The key RSPB reserves within this Futurescape are:
Come to Blacktoft Sands throughout the year and see how many of our 270 species of birds you can see! The tidal reedbed is the largest in England and is important for breeding bearded tits, bitterns and marsh harriers.
With pond dipping, regular fun events and walks to help you get away from it all, RSPB Fairburn Ings is the ideal place for adults and children to discover more about the natural world.
St Aidan's is a perfect place to relax, unwind or exercise in a stress-free environment and get up close to nature.
Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land in the Humberhead Levels. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with:
- Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council
- English Heritage
- The Environment Agency
- Isle of Axholme and North Nottinghamshire Water Level Management Board
- Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
- Natural England
- North Lincolnshire Council
- Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
- Ouse and Humber Drainage Board
- Shire Group of Internal Drainage Boards
- Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Saving special places
Victory for Harapan Rainforest
Beautiful Hutan Harapan forest is a precious remnant of the rainforest that once covered much of Sumatra (Photo: RSPB-images/Steve Roland) Hutan Harapan is one of the last remaining areas of dry lowland Sumatran forest and is among the most th...(r...Posted 12/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
Rila Mountains: The Final Piece in Bulgaria's Protected Area Network for Birds
Daniel Pullan, our International Casework Manager writes: I was thrilled last week when my Bulgarian colleague Irina Mateeva told me that the Bulgarian Government had designated the last part of the Rila Mountains as a Special Protection Area. This a...Posted 04/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
A net gain for nature
How can built development leave the natural environment in a better shape than it was before? This is the question at the heart of Defra’s recent consultation on ‘biodiversity net gain’. We know from the State of Nature 2016 report ...(read more)Posted 01/03/2019 by Simon Marsh
What will the new NPPF mean for places, people and nature?
On Tuesday the Government published a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England. You can see our previous commentary on the draft version here , here and here . The NPPF sets out the Government’s planning policies for England...(read ...Posted 27/07/2018 by Steph