Nature conservation in the UK has traditionally focused on the preservation of specific sites. But outside these few places, natural habitats have been lost on an unprecedented scale and many species, both common and rare, are in long-term decline.

Hedghog © David KilbeyMarsh Fritillary © Stephen Daviswild flowers at Blakehill © David Hall-WWT

As the demand for land for agriculture, housing and development has increased, so the room for wildlife and natural processes has decreased. This has resulted in small oases of wildlife-rich protected land, such as nature reserves, becoming surrounded by an otherwise inhospitable landscape for many plants and animals. These isolated areas of protected land are now the basic minimum we need to conserve nature into the future.

Living Landscapes is a recovery plan for nature. It’s a new way of thinking about how we manage land to do more for wildlife, people and the economy.

To achieve our vision for Living Landscapes, where wildlife is flourishing and recovering from past decline, now we need to think big and long-term. Living landscapes are a blueprint for how people and wildlife can live together in harmony so that nature can recover from its decline. Our nature reserves, your gardens, green urban spaces, farms and the wider countryside – together they create living landscapes.

To create living landscapes we are restoring, recreating and reconnecting areas of neglected or damaged habitats.


We are restoring habitats for wildlife. At our Blakehill Farm nature reserve near Cricklade we are undertaking one of the largest meadow restoration projects in the UK.

Cows at Blakehill © David Hall/WWT


We are reconnecting fragmented areas of natural habitat. For example our purchase of Lower Moor Farm linked together two other nature reserves. We now have a large area of different habitats to help wildlife disperse, recolonise and move around our landscapes.

Lower Moor aerial © RH Bewley NWWTC


We are recreating habitats, replacing lost areas for wildlife and creating new ones. We are currently creating wetland habitat at our Langford Lakes nature reserve in Steeple Langford in South Wiltshire.  

Langford Lakes Reed Planting © Caroline Robson/WWT

This includes a reedbed system installed by Wessex Water.

People and communities

Our Living Landscape work also connects people with the natural world.  We’re working closely with local communities to:

  • promote the wildlife on their doorstep.
  • improve access to wildlife and green spaces
  • provide opportunities for recreation, education and hands-on volunteering.
  • promote health and wellbeing through contact with nature.

Wellbeing Volunteers on Fungi Foray © WWT

In A Living Landscape...

  • wildlife is abundant and flourishing, both in the countryside and our towns and villages;
  • whole landscapes and ecosystems have been restored;
  • wildlife is able to move freely through these landscapes and adapt to the effects of climate change;
  • communities are benefitting fully from the fundamental services that healthy ecosystems provide;
  • everyone has access to wildlife-rich green spaces and can enjoy and be inspired by the natural world.

Tree At Sunset © Geraint Owen 26Apr2012