The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Credit: Paul Harris/2020VISION

635 + Wildlife Trust projects supported since 1994
Every eligible Wildlife Trust has been supported
Thousands of young people closer to nature
Thousands of hectares of land aquired

What is the National Lottery?

The National Lottery – and with it National Lottery funding for good causes like heritage, arts, sport and charities – was established in 1994. Every ticket sold contributes funds to good causes across the UK.

National Lottery funding through The National Lottery Heritage Fund is one of The Wildlife Trusts most important sources of income and has helped us to achieve many amazing things for people and wildlife over the years.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

 The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK.

Since its creation in 1994, The Wildlife Trusts have worked closely with The National Lottery Heritage Fund to connect people to nature and each other, save precious wildlife-rich places, create new woodlands, wetlands, meadows and many other habitats and protect rare and endangered species.

The National Heritage Lottery Fund has invested a total of £7.1bn in 40,000 heritage projects. The hundreds of Wildlife Trust projects across the UK supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund have benefited thousands of people from all walks of life – helping them to experience the joy of wildlife in their daily lives; from children and young people to older generations; from those living in urban areas to those in the countryside, or by the coast.

Players of the National Lottery are helping Wildlife Trusts throughout the UK give a new lease of life to wildlife and wild places, and ignite the passions of individuals and communities to care for the wildlife on their doorstep.
Stephanie Hilborne OBE The Wildlife Trusts

Bringing People Closer to Nature

With the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund we are helping people of all ages and background to draw inspiration and strength from wildlife and wild places. This video shows how the amazing Access, Community and Education (ACE) project, run by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, is bringing people closer to nature.

Saving special wild places and threatened species

Working together within their communities Wildlife Trusts are saving special wild places and threatened species around the UK. This video of the Be There For Barn Owls project, led by Ulster Wildlife Trust, shows that people taking action for wildlife where they live and is a powerful force for change.

For information on other Natural Heritage projects, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund click here

Lottery Heritage Fund logo

How The National Lottery Heritage Fund has helped Wildlife Trusts transform places and lives

Since 1994, National Lottery players have helped every eligible Wildlife Trust (that’s 44, by the way!) right across the UK deliver over 600 projects using money awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. This has helped Wildlife Trusts to work alongside volunteers and other members of the local community to transform areas ranging from city roadside verges to vast areas of land and coast. Involving local communities does not just benefit wildlife – it also helps people to reconnect with local wild places, people experience improved health and wellbeing and it helps them to help themselves and others by learning new life skills or about subjects that can help society as a whole.

Here are just a few of the projects, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has had supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Churnet Youth project

Young people with learning difficulties were given the opportunity to get close to nature and learn new skills at a project being run in the Churnet Valley by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

The ‘Churnet Youth’ project, which was awarded a £26,000 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, introduced youngsters to wildlife and nature conservation through practical activities while learning a wide range of skills.

The partnership project between Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Leek College will initially be based at the Trust’s Rod Wood nature reserve which boasts a wide variety of habitats.

The college will identify groups of eight to 10 young people each term to participate in the project. Most of these young people will have mild to moderate learning difficulties and a college tutor will accompany the groups.

Skills they will learn during the project could include hedge laying and coppicing as well as developing existing skills in horticulture. They will create mini-films showing the benefits and highlights of getting involved in the project, with the aim of encouraging wider participation.

Shaun Rimmer, from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, who runs the project says: “There are many well-documented benefits to increasing people's engagement in the natural environment. These include improving physical fitness, mental health and reducing stress levels. Young people will be able to take advantage of these benefits by engaging with this project.

“There will also be opportunity for social interaction with their peers; building confidence and self-esteem, and finding out more about the local natural heritage and how they can get involved in its conservation.”

The project will commence on Monday 18th December 2017 for one day per week during college term time.

For more information on this project, contact Shaun Rimmer at the Trust – 


Hazel Barrow Farm

In October 2017, The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded a £57,300 grant to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, which will go towards a two-year project to buy land in the Staffordshire Moorlands between Leek and Buxton and engage local people in activities to raise awareness of locally threatened birds.   The project will involve:
•    Purchase 30 acres of unimproved grassland and devise a management plan
•    Breeding season survey
•    Habitat management works
•    Off-site learning
The 30-acre site was part of Hazel Barrow Farm in Upper Hulme, and its importance is its location between two existing managed reserves, with potential to create a habitat corridor between the two, given its near idea conditions for wading birds. It is part of Leek Moors SSSI, designated for vegetation and geology. The key species to be protected are lapwing, curlew and snipe – red or amber list species threatened with local decline.

One of the key benefits of the grant is that it will enable the Trust to both help protect threatened bird species and raise awareness of them. The Moorlands is such a special place for wildlife, so this work is very important. 

The rest of the money for the project was donated in the form of a substantial legacy gift which was kindly donated to the Trust.

South West Peak

The South West Peak Landscape Partnership is a group of organisations including Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, working to restore, protect, and improve the landscape of the South West Peak since 2016.

With the Peak District National Park Authority as lead partner and with the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund this 5-year scheme (with benefits reaching far beyond that time) will work with local communities to build stronger connections with the landscape and with each other. The Partnership aims to enhance ecosystem services, the benefits we all get from the natural environment, and support sustainable farming in the area. You can find out more about the project here 

With the leadership and dedication of its partners and the local community the South West Peak Landscape Partnership will use a £2.4 million National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, together with additional funding, to deliver 18 individual projects ranging from protecting the cultural resources of the area to supporting the recovery of our wading birds. A summary of each of these projects can be found in the Landscape Conservation Action Plan and as each project begins updates can be found on our Projects page and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Comprising an area of 354 square-kilometers the South West Peak contains a variety of stunning vistas, habitats and species and includes the sources of five major river systems that supply clean drinking water to communities including Stockport, Leek, Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield. While there are some more well-known locations within the South West Peak, such as the Goyt Valley and the Roaches, there are also many less-known sites that local people hold dear. Through this partnership scheme we will seek to understand and conserve these areas, and the natural systems around them, so that visitors and residents can continue to enjoy all that the South West Peak has to offer in a sustainable and responsible way.

The Landscape Partnership Manager is Karen Shelley-Jones, you can contact her via email at

Churnet Valley Living Landscapes

The Churnet Valley Living Landscape project aims to conserve, enhance and celebrate the spectacular natural and built heritage of this area. Find out more here and further reading here 

The Churnet Valley Living Landscape area is situated in North East Staffordshire and spans 49,000 acres. It includes the Weaver Hills, Ipstones Edge, Biddulph Moor, Consall and Rudyard. The project has received almost  £2million funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The project is being led by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust but it is very much a partnership project. There are 15 partners including local authorities, the Canal and River Trust, Destination Staffordshire, Lafarge and the RSPB.

Transforming the Trent Valley

The striking landscape of the Trent Valley, along with its archaeological and industrial heritage and important wetland habitats, are set to benefit from the first stage of a £3 million project.

The first stage of the grant, amounting to £256,300, has been awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to The Central Rivers Initiative (CRI) as part of its ‘Transforming the Trent Valley’ partnership project led by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

The 18-month scheme—which supports the development of a larger proposal to be submitted for approval in 2018 for environmental, cultural and community-led projects—was given initial approval through its Landscape Partnership (LP) programme.

Julian Woolford, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This is fantastic news and we were delighted to hear that our application has been successful.

“This funding will allow us to focus on work on part of the county’s most treasured landscape and heritage, and will be a huge benefit to communities, organisations and crucially, wildlife.We are now looking forward to getting started with work on the ground and making a real difference to such an important part of our area.”

Julia Jessel, Chairman of the CRI, said: “This is very exciting news and now means the CRI can deliver its long-term vision for the benefit of all. The success of our bid is also testament to the huge effort made by everyone involved. I am extremely proud to have the privilege of being the chairman of this partnership.”

The ‘Transforming the Trent Valley’ scheme aims to turn people’s outlook back to the river and floodplain, raise their level of appreciation for the local heritage, and engage them in constructive and informed decision-making about the future use and management of the landscape.

The Landscape Partnership Scheme will undertake a wide range of environmental, cultural and community-led projects within the Trent, Tame and Dove river valleys covering some 190 square kilometres from Uttoxeter to Tamworth and including the river valleys within or near to the main towns of Burton, Rugeley, Lichfield and Derby.

Work over the next 18 months will help to shape and define a range of projects. Projects will include:

Creating a more robust and attractive landscape for local people and for visiting tourists to enjoy with access to sites of wildlife and cultural interest.
Revealing the archaeological and industrial heritage that has shaped the river valley landscape.
Restoring characteristic river valley landscape features such as meandering river channels, water meadows and waterside trees.
Creating new and improved wildlife habitats such as reed beds, wet pastures and woodland encouraging species such as bittern, osprey and waders on land formerly quarried for sand and gravel.
Improving accessibility on foot, cycle and horseback with new opportunities for recreation and sport.

Once an integral part of the working lives of local communities much of the Trent Valley is now hidden from view and difficult to access.

Andrew Hearle, Central Rivers Initiative Manager, said: “Transforming the Trent Valley’ project is to get people closer to a beautiful and revitalised landscape—and this money will allow that to happen. This lottery funding will give us the keys to help create a more robust and attractive landscape for local people and visiting tourists to enjoy, as well as restoring characteristic river valley features such as meandering river channels, water meadows and waterside trees."

“Local communities will also benefit as the scheme will involve improving accessibility to the area on foot, cycle and horseback with new opportunities for exploring local history, wildlife, as well as for recreation and sport.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Our historic landscapes are incredibly important to people’s wellbeing and need to be protected. Some of the landscapes we are funding today are in the most remote parts of the UK; others form an important backdrop to some of our largest cities. What they all have in common is the potential to make people’s lives better, which is why they are so richly deserving of National Lottery money.”

To find out more about the project visit