How to help eagles soar over England once more


Imagine if you could turn back the clock and restore a loss you thought was irreplaceable. Not so long ago eagles glided English skies, red squirrels scampered about our forests and you could spot Smartie-green sand lizards basking on heathland.  Everyone knows the sharp pang that comes with letting go something dear and unrepeatable. Mostly, the best you can do is accept and move on. But what if you had a second chance? Would you let anything stand in your way?

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rewrite the future for wildlife.  

This month the government launched a consultation on changes to England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and wants everyone to have their say. The Government says restoring wildlife to these places, and making it accessible to people, are its top priorities.  

This is our chance to make sure the Government brings these landscapes back to life.  

Wildlife encounters far from home take on a magical quality in our memories. But the landscapes we amble through to walk off the Sunday lunch, the rivers and lakes we take children to see their first duck and that kingfisher or kestrel we keep “bumping into” sink into our bones and carve themselves into our hearts. Let’s bring back our spectacular natural heritage, the wildlife so beautiful it makes people proud to call their area home, and create a lifetime of wild memories.  


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Our uplands are precious places for wildlife but have so much untapped potential. With careful management, places like the Lake District National Park could be home once more to golden and white-tailed eagles.  

Swallowtail butterflies   


Swallowtail butterflies are one of our rarest and most splendid butterflies, found only in a few places in the UK. We want to help them thrive throughout the Broads National Park in Norfolk and Suffolk.    

Pine martens  

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Sleek and nimble, pine martens were once one of the most common carnivores in Britain. But most of them have gone. The recovery of pine martens would be a good litmus test of whether the Peak District National Park’s landscape has been restored to its former glory.  

Sand lizards  

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It sounds exotic but sand lizards and smooth snakes could be a familiar sight in the sand dunes and heathlands of Dorset AONB.  

Red squirrels 

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Most of us have never seen a red squirrel but feel a strong urge to protect this elfin woodland animal. We want to make the Isle of Wight AONB and the Lake District a stronghold for them once more.  


With their plump round bodies and button noses, who can resist the bumbling charm of a beaver? Two AONBs in Devon have become the launch pads for a high -profile beaver re-introduction. The lessons conservationists learn from this project could help the case for more widespread revival.  

Showing what’s possible 

Nature is resilient: given the chance, wildlife will return to our landscapes. This isn’t a theory. The RSPB and our partners, and others, are showing what these landscapes could look like.  

Fifteen years ago just five puffins remained on Lundy Island, off the coast of the North Devon AONB, but a major recovery project saw their numbers rise to 375 puffins and the total seabird population triple to over 21,000 birds.   2120241-AHP-puffin standing by a cliff.jpeg
 Roseate terns are the UK’s rarest nesting seabird and were almost driven to extinction in the 19th century. The RSPB manages Coquet Island next to the Northumberland Coast AONB, home to the UK’s only breeding colony which celebrated a sixth consecutive record-breaking year for roseate tern breeding last year.  

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Some of the UK’s rarest birds are returning to RSPB’s Minsmere reserve in the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB after a heathland restoration project.  
Britain’s loudest bird, the bittern, battled extinction not once but twice. Two projects helped revive their numbers once again, with around half of UK bitterns found on RSPB reserves. This includes a booming population in our Leighton Moss reserve in the Arnside and Silverdale AONB.  

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What can I do?  

We all need to speak up for nature during the next few weeks to make sure this opportunity for real change is not lost.  

The survey will run until Saturday 9 April. 


If you only have a moment   

Just a few moments of your time could make the difference for the wildlife you love. Become a wildlife guardian and send our template message to the Government before the survey deadline.  
Raise your voice even louder by tweeting your MP to let them know you’ve completed our e-action.   

How to make the biggest impact for nature 

The more voices united for nature, the better. But varied, personal responses to the full survey are most likely to make the Government sit up and take notice. Tell the government about your experiences connecting with wildlife in National Parks and AONBs to help give the best chance of restoring our lost wildlife. We’ve put together a guide on how to answer the questions.