Grants and advice
As part of the Ryevitalise programme, funding is available for capital items such as fencing and water troughs. These are to stop cattle drinking from the river which causes damage to the river banks pushing soil and other contaminants into the water. There are also area payments available for creating and restoring habitats such as wet meadows and species rich grassland.
Below are some examples of the support we can offer. Our Catchment Restoration Officer will be happy to visit you and discuss potential grant options with you.
Do your fields slope down towards a stream or the river? Do you notice soil getting washed down slopes when it rains? Have you got stretches of stream or river bank that the livestock can get into?
If so, you could be causing point source pollution of the watercourse with sediment inputs. To help reduce this we are funding the creation and maintenance of wide riparian buffer strips. Buffer strips can be trees, hedges, wildflowers or grasses.
These strips catch the soil and slow the flow of water to alleviate the risk of sediment pollution into watercourses. As a result, aquatic invertebrates and fish can continue to breed and flourish, maintaining a healthy ecosystem to pass on to future generations.
A buffer strip is needed in places like this to prevent soil erosion
Invasive non-native species
Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) put our habitats and wildlife at threat. Because they don’t belong in our natural ecosystems there are no animals that eat them. They outcompete local, often rare, wildflowers. A plant like Himalayan Balsam can take over a section of riverbank and then leave bare soil when it dies back in the autumn, leaving the river bank vulnerable to being washed away in the winter. This all results in destabilisation of river banks.
Himalayan Balsam produces prolific seeds and can spread rapidly and extensively using streams or the river to transport the seeds downstream. If you notice this pink flowering, very sweet smelling plant while monitoring your land between June and October, please tell us. We can discuss measures available at no cost to you to control this plant. If you are aware of other non-native invasive species on your land please also let us know as control options may also be available for these too.
The Himalayan balsam page has further information.
The Himalayan Balsam plant grows to 2m tall or even higher, and has deep pink flowers shaped like a slipper about 2-4cm long. You will probably smell it before you spot it - it smells sickly sweet. It was originally introduced as a garden plant in the 1830s.
Hedgerows are like wildlife highways or service stations! If your hedges contain gaps their benefits for wildlife could be improved by filling up the gaps.
Many animals including bats, birds, and invertebrates use hedgerows for shelter, navigating and feeding. To help maintain these vital resources for wildlife, and benefit your fields by providing protection from wind and rain erosion while maintaining livestock boundaries we can offer support.
Grants are available to fill gaps in hedgerows or extend them to connect with existing areas of scrub or woodland.
While bats may be small and active at night, so often overlooked, they are hugely important. They are top predators feeding on insects and are sensitive to habitat changes. This makes them an important species for indicating wider ecosystem health.
The rare Alcathoe bat was discovered in the Ryevitalise area in 2010. This species, like many bats, requires a mix of woodland and water for roosting and hunting.
If you are interested in learning more about the health of your local environment and which bat species are visiting your land, get in touch and we can discuss monitoring opportunities and how this can feed into a conservation agreement.
Volunteers may be able to visit with equipment that records the bat sounds for four nights and then a computer analyses the recordings to identify which bats are in the area. This is a really popular survey so far.
Species rich grassland
Variety in the environment is essential. It helps to build resilience for the future and minimise the risk of disease outbreaks. This can easily be achieved on your farm by creating species rich grassland, typically containing a high number of wildflowers. These flowers in turn provide food for invertebrates which can also pollinate crops as well as support the whole ecosystem.
We encourage wildflower meadows to be left to set seed without being disturbed followed by management to prevent the fields from becoming nutrient rich.
Marshy and wet grassland provides an important habitat for a wide range of species, including wading birds, many of which are a conservation concern.
Before thinking about draining these areas please contact us to discuss options to protect them and the grants available for their management.
While these areas may appear to be unproductive they can provide important feeding areas for waders. We are keen to protect and promote these areas and have grants available to do just that, so get in touch to find out how you can help these birds and receive long-term conservation payments for doing so.
Water improvement measures (livestock watering points)
Do you use streams or the river as watering points for livestock? If so we would like to fund alternative watering points on your farm to avoid pollution and poaching of rivers.
If this applies to your farm and you would like to prevent soil and muck getting into the streams and rivers please contact us to find out more.
At the same time as supplying alternative watering points we will also fund fencing works to prevent livestock accessing watercourses, helping to protect the valuable riparian habitat. We can also offer rainwater goods where these will reduce soil erosion, get in touch for full details of improvements.
Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (also called PAWS)
Ancient Woodlands are rare features in the landscape which developed over centuries supporting a unique ecosystem of plants and wildlife.
Many semi-natural ancient woodlands were converted to plantations in the early part of the 20th century. We are looking to restore these sites to their former glory.
We have grants available to fund improvements including access improvements to facilitate works, contributions towards thinning operations, funding for broadleaf replanting, or woodland management, for example coppicing works or control of conifer regeneration.
Have you ever stood beneath a mighty oak and wondered at its sheer size and what history these trees have lived through?
These magnificent trees provide a habitat for more organisms than any other tree in the UK. Like insects, lichens, and fungi for example. Also bats roost and hibernate in tree crevices.
However, they are slow growing and they take time to reach their ecological potential. We are keen to ensure future generations may also benefit from oak trees in the landscape by planting the "veteran trees of the future".
As part of Ryevitalise we are funding works to plant these veteran trees of the future which also improve habitat connections, in particular where there are currently wide expanses of field with minimal numbers of boundary or in-field trees.
If you are interested in any of these options, or in conservation opportunities generally, please email us.
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