New Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area

Ogbourne St.George is inside the boundary of the new Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area.

The MDNIA Events Programme 2013 has some exciting events planned - like the International Dawn Chorus Day 2013 and the Bat Night at Avebury. More here: Diary of events for 2013

What is a Nature Improvement Area?

Natural England’s Nature Improvement Areas (NIA) grant scheme is open to applications to support activities and projects that strive to achieve the shared vision of a coherent and resilient ecological network in up to 12 NIAs. Nature Improvement Areas are large, discrete areas that will deliver change in nature conservation, where a local partnership has a shared vision for their natural environment. The partnership will plan and deliver significant improvements for wildlife and people through the sustainable use of natural resources, restoring and creating wildlife habitats, connecting local sites and joining up local action.

The Marlborough Downs NIA

Of the fifteen applications that made it to the shortlist, the Marlborough Downs bid became one of twelve which were announced as successful on Monday 27 February 2012. The Marlborough Downs NIA is the only successful bid which is led by the farming community.

Map of the new NIA

Map of the new NIA

The project will now receive over £600,000 over three years, a share of the £7.5m government funding to restore habitats creating a network of dew ponds and wildlife habitat corridors. The leading farmers for the Marlborough Downs were actively encouraged to apply by Natural England, which was keen the support the measures they were already taking to preserve and enhance the flora and fauna of the downs. The scheme, to which the majority of farmers within the NIA have given their support, is led by Chris Musgrave of Temple Farm at Rockley, David White of Manor Farm at Berwick Bassett, David McCormick of Manton Estate and Jilly Carter of Maisey Farm, who have formed a limited company (Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area Ltd) in which the Game and Wildlife Conservancy Trust and Wiltshire Council are non-financial partners.

The main objectives for the NIA are:
• To improve the condition and connectivity of the ecological network of the Marlborough Downs NIA and
• To connect people to the landscape of the Marlborough Downs

Objective 1: To enable appropriate management of wildlife sites
Objective 2: To consolidate the chalk grassland resource
Objective 3: To consolidate populations of species of national and local importance
Objective 4: To deliver best practice in wildlife management
Objective 5: To get the non-farming community involved with activities in and about the Marlborough Downs
Objective 6: To provide better public access

The role of Wiltshire Council

Wiltshire Council’s role is to provide specialist professional advice on matters relating to the scheme, this will be facilitated through the amenity and fleet service. Local communities will be encouraged to enjoy and help care for the landscapes.

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