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
#SaveCoulLinks - an urgent update from a vital campaign
My colleague, Kate Bellew, Senior Conservation Planner at RSPB Scotland has just posted this blog following an important meeting held by Highland Council to decide on the fate of Coul Links. Given the significance of the case - I'm reproducing...(rea...Posted 12/06/2018 by Andre Farrar
Planning Policy Wales: Securing a brighter future for nature in Wales
Following my blog 11 days ago on the draft National Planning Policy Framework for England, I'm delighted to introduce this guest blog on Planning Policy Wales by my colleague Christopher O'Brien. Guest blog by RSPB Cymru Senior Policy Officer...(read...Posted 21/05/2018 by Simon Marsh
Three decades fighting for peatlands
Wherever peat soils form - there is a conservation story - often of loss and damage, occasionally of restoration and hope. They form a fragile home for distinctive and often threatened wildlife and the properties of the peat provide life-giving benef...Posted 15/05/2018 by Andre Farrar
Building a Britain Fit for the Future (3)
Today we submit our final response to the Government’s consultation on a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England. You can see our previous commentary on it here and here . The changes to the NPPF are wide-ranging, and most...(re...Posted 10/05/2018 by Simon Marsh