MERES AND MOSSES NIA/LPS PROGRAMME
About the Programme
The Meres and Mosses Landscape Partnership Scheme (LPS) and Nature Improvement Area (NIA) were two of the most ambitious and significant programmes in recent times for these parts of north Shropshire and south Cheshire and ran from April 2012 until January 2018. These programmes complemented each other and were delivered by a partnership of 12 organisations from the charitable, statutory and local authority sectors. The lead partner and accountable body was Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Other partners are detailed in the attached reports.
The Heritage Lottery Funded LPS focused on delivering improvements for conservation, raising awareness of the landscape of the project area, engaging communities, improving access and providing opportunities for people to learn skills associated with the landscape. The conservation work concentrated on improving three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) (Cole Mere, White Mere and Brown Moss). Local communities were engaged to help with this work. Heritage conservation work saw the 2nd World War RAF control tower at Prees Heath Common Reserve restored by Butterfly Conservation. Advice was given to local landowners and farmers with a focus on nutrient management to help protect vulnerable sites and farm grants were also available. Projects focused on communities and people engaged local populations in the landscape and community grants were available to help villages, parishes and independent groups deliver projects in their area. New circular walks have been created from the existing Shropshire Way and Sandstone Trail routes to allow better access to the Meres & Mosses landscape. Volunteers have been engaged to help with habitat and wildlife surveys.
The NIA was a Defra funded programme, one of only 12 selected in 2012 from over 70 applications. It focused on making better places for nature, people and communities. By improving and protecting core sites, and connecting them by restoring the wetland habitats in and around them, the project worked to build stepping stones across the landscape to provide both better conditions for wildlife and the capacity for species to move from one core site to another. For example, work on sites like Wem Moss and Crosemere re-established the important wetland features that make sites like these so special whilst also working to engage local communities and provide information. Former mosses and peatlands were identified and the project worked with landowners to restore them as stepping stones. An example of this is Blakenhall Moss in Cheshire, where the programme provided the resources for Cheshire Wildlife Trust to remove trees and begin to return it to lowland raised bog.