We’re Wild About Trees as we get further funding to restore nature

11th June, 2024
by Katie | 4 Min Read
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Tree planting at Sharpham

Fresh funding will enable continued nature restoration on The Sharpham Estate, near Totnes, South Devon.

Over the past four years, The Sharpham Trust and our partners Ambios Ltd have rewilded 50 acres of farmland on the Sharpham Estate, enabling more insect, bird, mammal and plant life to flourish.

Now our partnership to restore nature continues, thanks to funding from the Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest: an ambitious plan to connect tree & wildlife habitats across South Devon & Dartmoor.

Tree at sunrise on rewilding fields at Sharpham
Retreatant Madeline

The funding will pay for 

  • the planting of 5875 new trees

  • the creation of new wildlife habitats & hedgerows

  • public nature events and volunteering opportunities

  • continued preservation of our historic parkland landscape


"We're really pleased to be awarded this funding as it means we're able to carry on the nature restoration work we've been doing at Sharpham," said Julian Carnell, Director of The Sharpham Trust. 

"Our charity's mission includes making the world a more sustainable place and this project supports us to support our ecosystem for humans and wildlife."

Beech tree on South Quay
Lisa Carnell

What’s a Community Forest?


Community forests are forming a new network of woodland habitats spread across a wide area. They include community woodland, private woodland, on-street, urban woodland, wooded habitat corridors and hedgerows.

They are being created throughout the UK to help mitigate climate change through the planting of trees and the development of new wildlife habitats. It is hoped that they will also boost green skills and forest-facing jobs for future generations.

Funders want the Community Forest to be an “equitable and accessible woodland network” where people interact with and benefit from nature physically, socially and economically.

The Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest (PSDCF) will stretch from the heart of Plymouth to the edge of Dartmoor, encompassing 1,900 hectares of land to form a mosaic of different forest habitats. That’s the equivalent of about 3,750 football pitches.

Sharpham Estate land will be part of this mosaic, linking habitats and farmland next to the River Dart with a much wider area of woodland.

The PSDCF is a partnership between Plymouth City Council, South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council, National Trust and the Woodland Trust.

Ambios director Jack Skuse with our rewilding land behind

Continued nature restoration on The Sharpham Estate

Thanks to this funding, The Sharpham Trust - a nature-mindfulness charity - will continue partnering with nature-training & education organisation Ambios Ltd to carry on their nature-recovery work on land next to the River Dart, near Totnes, South Devon.

The two organisations won funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a four-year project Wild for People, which ran from 2020, rewilding parts of the Sharpham Estate and turning the land organic.

Their new Wild About Trees project was crafted over nine months, and took in the land’s historical maps, biodiversity hotspots and areas that were crucial for maintaining a healthy ecological balance. 

The fresh funding will pay for tree-guards to protect newly-planted native trees and continued animal grazing on wood pasture habitats with strategic tree and shrub plantings.

Other proposals include enhancing natural waterways and creating new, wet habitats which are vital for the ecosystem.

Jack Skuse, Director of Ambios (pictured), said: "We are really excited to embark on this journey towards nature recovery and sustainable land management. By working together as a community, we can create a connected landscape for humans, animals, and nature to thrive".

How can people get involved?

Tree-planting events, expanded volunteer opportunities, nature-events for people, students and school-children are some of the results of the funding.

The Sharpham Trust is internationally-known for offering mindfulness retreats underpinned by a strong connection to nature.

The funding will also support new retreats, the Mindfulness of Trees, where people can come and stay in the Trust’s newest retreat centre, The Coach House, help with tree-planting, learn more about trees and spend time in mindful contemplation surrounded by nature.

Learn more here: www.sharphamtrust.org/trees