Over the last decade we’ve been hard at work with wildlife on our Nature Reserve and across our estate, and with communities & partners across the UK. It’s all been about boosting our knowledge to make large-scale UK landscape conservation in the UK a reality. We’re ready for the next big project!
Now with new funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Green Recovery Challenge Fund, we’re going to develop an entire ‘Nature Recovery Corridor’ side by side with YOU, our home community.
The purpose of a wildlife corridor is to connect patches of fragmented habitat to form a functioning ecosystem over a large area, and we’re dreaming big with the concept. At completion, our Nature Recovery Corridor will cover a massive 10-mile stretch, connecting habitats reaching south of Chester through to Ellesmere Port in the North and turning the area into a thriving example of what the British nature can be.
All of this will only be possible through close partnerships with the many groups in Cheshire striving for change alongside us. We’ll be working with:
- Cheshire West & Chester Council on the creation of swathes of new grassland and meadow
- The Land Trust on revolutionising reedbed, meadow, woodland and wetland habitats on the Countess and Chester Country Park
- The Canal & River Trust on improving the potential of our canal network as a home for UK wildlife
- Sustrans on improving spaces for people and wildlife along the Millennium Greenway
Spot the estate…
A good portion of the corridor will be found on our own land, the Chester Zoo Estate, an entire landscape that we’ve been developing to be a mosaic of UK habitat. This funding will see the creation of a new pond, as well as renovation for the five already here. We’re going work on restoring our orchard, and enhance hedgerow habitat, improving wildlife connectivity. Then come the real huge area projects: enhancement of 5.5 hectares of reedbed, 4.5 hectares of lowland wet grassland, and 15 hectares of grassland. Each habitat type harbours it’s own unique combination of life, and by preserving as many habitat types as possible we offer the best chance of restoring a flourishing ecosystem.
On top of all of this, the corridor’s creation will allow us to carry out research on a large area of peat deposit identified by Natural England in the North West of Cheshire, and plan for best possible management that will maintain the habitat in the long run. Not just a rich ecosystem for biodiversity, peatland is essential in the fight against climate change, storing vast amounts of carbon in deep soils and plant communities.
How can people get involved?
It means Community Conservation Action Days, bringing people together to help the Nature Recovery Corridor be fully realised. It means working with six schools and six community groups within the Recovery Corridor zone, providing them with a year of support to establish conservation and community involvement among an entire community of young people. It means new training courses in the skills of habitat management, and opportunities to become a Wildlife Champion, a programme we’re growing to help people connect with nature within their own communities. Alongside all of this will be an accessible events programme and an entire range of digital engagement, real-world interpretation features, activity packs and resources, ensuring there’s something for everyone to get involved with.
It’s an incredible ambition and from now until Spring 2023 we’ll be focusing this first phase of the project on the Chester area, covering just over six miles of the eventual ten mile stretch.
JOIN OUR TEAM
We have a number of exciting job opportunities that are vital in enabling us to deliver this incredible project. Join our team of passionate people and help protect native species in Cheshire.
Wildlife Connections Trail
We’ve created a trail that connects our Nature Reserve to the City Forest Garden in Chester, to help better connect people with nature.
WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT UK WILDLIFE…
BIG habitat improvement – COMING SOON
Wildlife Champions – COMING SOON
Nature Recovery Corridor Schools & Community Groups – COMING SOON
Volunteering Opportunities – COMING SOON
Corridor Trails – COMING SOON
Find out more about our WONDERFUL zoo and all of the incredible animals, plants and FUN things to do here. Download our app or PDF map to help plan you day and find your way around when you get here.