Our Plan

Somerset Wildlands is raising money to buy and manage land, allowing it to provide space for nature restoration and rewilding.

Our mission

The Somerset Levels were once England’s Okavango Delta. From pelicans to lynx, beavers to sturgeons, it would have teemed with wildlife, much of it now gone. Somerset Wildlands is aimed at restoring some of that lost wildlife and wildness through a process of distributed rewilding. The Levels may never be what they were, but we have an opportunity to create a world-class wildlife core for the South-West of England and beyond.

Wild stepping stones

Somerset Wildlands is using a process of distributed rewilding, which we are calling ‘stepping stones’. This will seek to develop a network of sites throughout the Levels – some small, some large. Each of these will be managed in as light-touch a way as is practical using tools such as natural regeneration and succession, light grazing, re-wetting etc. In contrast to standard conservation which seeks areas of high value to nature and then protects them, we will acquire areas of normal farmland and allow them to develop as spaces for nature. Over time this will create numerous ‘islands of wildness’ – providing refuges and diversity within the overall landscape.

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Reclaim Gift Aid

Gift Aid It!Add 25% more to your donation at no cost to you. A Gift Aid declaration allows Somerset Wildlands to claim tax back on eligible donations. It means that for every £1 you donate to Somerset Wildlands we can claim back 25p, at no extra cost to you.

By ticking the “Yes” box, I agree I would like Somerset Wildlands to reclaim the tax on all qualifying donations I have made, as well as any future donations, until I notify them otherwise. I understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year I may be asked to pay any difference. I understand that Somerset Wildlands will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 that I give.

What is Gift Aid?

Gift Aid does not cost you a penny more, but can add an additional 25p to every £1 you donate. When Somerset Wildlands receives a donation from a UK taxpayer, we’re entitled to claim an amount of tax (calculated at the basic rate of income tax in that year) paid on that donation. Once you have given your permission for us to do this on your behalf, there is no need for you to do anything else.

All that is required is that you must be a taxpayer and that would have paid or will pay sufficient Income and/or Capital Gains Tax to cover all the Gift Aid claimed on all your donations in that tax year. Please note that it is your responsibility to pay any difference.

The amount of tax we claim will be 25% of the total value of your donations in that tax year. Furthermore, if you are a higher taxpayer, you are also entitled to claim the difference between the basic rate which we will claim and the amount of tax you have actually paid. For further details on how you can do this, please contact your tax office. If your tax situation changes and your gifts will no longer be eligible for the Gift Aid scheme please contact us and we will amend your record accordingly.

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Beginnings

Our journey began in 2016 when our Director purchased a few small fields in the Levels and began a gentle process of small-scale rewilding, allowing nature to take its course, and watching as plants and animals colonised the space. You can read more about that project at http://www.godneymarshes.com

Reintroductions

Over time we will seek to reintroduce and reinforce wildlife which has been lost from the Levels – from small animals like harvest mice or glow worms to working with others to create the conditions where larger animals such as pelicans or lynx can return. If larger animals already present in Britain return by themselves – for example wild boar, beaver or sea eagle – we will welcome them with open arms.

Connections with nature

As we restore wildlife to parts of the Levels we will seek ways to reconnect people with nature – through practical activities like nature surveys, school excursions or small scale reintroductions. We will also be alert to opportunities to bring wildlife into the cities, starting with Bristol where many of our supporters live and work. This may include urban orchards and gardens, campaigns to change planning to benefit wildlife, education and events

Affiliated sites

Alongside buying land directly we will build a network of rewilding and restoration sites owned by other landowners in the area. These affiliated sites will form part of the stepping stones network.

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