In 2019, Blackdown Hills AONB, along with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) across the country, signed up to the Colchester Declaration. This is an ambitious plan to recover nature in and beyond protected landscapes, build climate resilience and enhance engagement with people.

Start Date: 01/07/2019 End Date: 01/07/2024

In 2019, Blackdown Hills AONB, along with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) across the country, signed up to the Colchester Declaration. This is an ambitious plan to recover nature in and beyond protected landscapes, build climate resilience and enhance engagement with people.

The Colchester Declaration frames our urgent initial response to the climate and ecological emergency recognised by authorities throughout the UK. While clearly requiring some planning, it is focussed on delivering action for habitats and biodiversity at a significant scale in the shortest possible time. Realising this ambition will require additional resources, forging new partnerships and cementing strong alliances with partners.

This builds on successful nature recovery solutions already delivered through AONB partnerships and will help deliver the goals in the Landscapes Review and the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

Along with all the AONBs in England and Wales, Blackdown Hills AONB is in the process of drawing up a nature recovery plan for this area, working with landowners, conservation organisations, neighbouring AONBs, and the wider community. The aim is to engage partners and inspire and inform positive action to conserve what remains and reinstate what’s been lost.

Across the country, five pilot schemes are being established to demonstrate approaches, one of which is in the Axe catchment.

We’re in the process of reviewing local species to see which would be the most suitable for inclusion in the nature recovery plan. Candidates include the greater & lesser horseshoe bat, Bechstein’s bat, beaver, white clawed crayfish, brown hairstreak, springline mire mosaic invertebrates (for example marsh fritillary, small pearl bordered fritillary, double line moth), and the hazel dormouse.

The State of Nature for the Blackdown Hills AONB is part of a suite of projects that comprise the emerging Nature Recovery Plan that will address the extinction emergency for biodiversity in part-fulfilment of the Colchester Declaration:

Explore the Blackdown Hills AONB State of Nature story map

State of Nature for the Blackdown Hills report 2021 [pdf]

Nature Recovery Plan consultation slides [pdf]

Nature recovery area workshop slides [pdf]

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