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Two Heritage Horticultural Skills Scheme and Skills for the Future trainees working in Dyffryn Gardens

Case Study - Potteric Carr Nature Reserve 

Programme: Heritage Grants 
Applicant: Yorkshire Wildlife Trust 
Grant awarded: £977,000 
Project length: 5 years 



Yorkshire Wildlife Trust received a grant to undertake a programme of habitat recovery and improvements to the accessibility and educational offer of the Potteric Carr Nature Reserve near Doncaster. The Sites of Special Scientific Interest contains extensive areas of reed fen, marsh and carrland which were once common in lowland England. This diverse wetland site boasts a wide range of bird, butterfly and dragonfly species as well as mammals such as water voles and deer. The project improved visitor facilities and employed an Education Officer and a Training and Volunteer Development Officer to provide a range of activities from school visits to conservation skill training. Access around the site was improved to ensure that this haven of biodiversity was open to all.


The aims of the project

The five year project had four main aims, which together met HLF’s strategic aims for learning, participation and conservation:

  • To protect and enhance the heritage value of the Potteric Carr Nature Reserve and address increasing pressures from surrounding developments;
  • To encourage visitors to the reserve;
  • To expand community involvement in the management of the reserve; and
  • To develop a major environmental education and training scheme.


Benefits for heritage

  • Habitat and access works such as scrub clearance, all-ability access routes and new hides, have opened up opportunities for more people to learn about the natural heritage of the Potteric Carr site.
  • The Training and Volunteer Development Officer has implemented a training scheme to work with local volunteers to build their knowledge and understanding of the site.
  • Conservation, survey and habitat management skills have been learnt expanding community involvement in the management and maintenance of the site.


Benefits for people

  • The Education Officer has established an exciting and varied education programme to work with local schools and community groups. The programmes look at everything from species identification to green issues, habitats to site management.
  • A range of volunteering opportunities has been developed at Potteric Carr including traditional conservation work and working as an education assistant. The involvement of local people in protecting, developing and managing the Reserve is the primary reason for its existence. This involvement of local people has continued under the incoming professional staff building on the positive legacy of the past.
  • A range of events and activities improved all-ability nature trails and new hides have seen an increase in visitor numbers since the project.

Lessons learnt

  • It is important that you consult a range of people when planning your project. You will need to talk to the high profile stakeholders who are closely involved in the project but importantly also the local community and those who you are trying to get involved with the project.
  • It is key to demonstrate at an early stage how local volunteers will fit into a future management structure.

Long term benefits

  • Improvements to the site, its facilities, habitat management and education offer have ensured that the Potteric Carr Nature Reserve has become a flagship site for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
  • The scale of investment at Potteric Carr has stimulated further investment namely, the acquisition of 75 ha of land and its development as a new wetland extension (£1.6 m) and progress in securing buffer areas, in conjunction with developers, around the Reserve.
  • More information is availble on the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust website.

The budget

HLF contributed 75% of the total project costs with match funding totalling £270,836 in cash and £60,000 in non-cash contributions.

Potteric Carr Wetlands 

Potteric Carr Wetlands 


Land and Biodiversity