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The Humberhead Levels Partnership successfully delivered one of the first pilot Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) in England, with a £2.6million DEFRA funded scheme from 2012 to 2015. This great work continues thanks to a £248,000 grant from WREN’s Biodiversity Action Fund for the Reconnecting the Humberhead Levels Project, and the EU Life+ funded Humberhead Peatlands NNR restoration works.

The Humberhead Levels NIA spans across parts of Yorkshire & Humber, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. Aiming to deliver a step change in delivering a more connected environment for people and wildlife, the end result should be a more valued and robust natural environment.

Twelve organisations have now come together and are working with a united vision, coordinating the environmental work necessary to keep the Humberhead Levels special.

The Humberhead Levels Partnership

The Humberhead Levels Partnership is helping to create an internationally renowned, unique network of wetlands in a predominantly agricultural landscape, whilst supporting thriving communities and wildlife. One of its key aims is to work with local businesses, landowners, communities and other organisations to achieve sustainable land management practices.


What is the Humberhead Levels?

  • The key areas of the inner section of the River Humber and the mosaic of sites that cluster around the Humberhead Levels NNR - the largest lowland raised mire system in the UK.
  • A huge flat plain spanning over 2,000 square kilometres, occupying the area of the former pro-glacial Lake Humber
  • It straddles the borders of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire where rivers draining one fifth of England meet the Humber Estuary
  • The area stretches north from Retford in North Nottinghamshire to beyond Selby in North Yorkshire, and from Doncaster in South Yorkshire, east to Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire.
  • The land here is mostly less than 10m above sea level, and in some areas lies below sea level, too
  • It comprises large expanses of arable farming, rivers, dykes and a mosaic of wetlands
  • An amazing landscape, rich in wildlife and human heritage - offering significant potential to deliver wider ecosystem services including food and fuel production, flood attenuation and biodiversity
  • A fantastic example of the Wildlife Trusts' collaborative work with dynamic partner organisations to restore a Living Landscape

 Highlights from the first 3 years of the NIA include:

• The Humberhead Levels habitat is better, bigger, more and joined-up with 1190ha of habitat works
• We have successfully improved the quality and created new stepping stone wetlands
• We have successfully increased the number of breeding sites for two focal species
• We have worked with over 59 land owners and farmers
• We provided £76,000 of grants to land owners and farmers for wildlife work
• We have demonstrated increased connectivity across the Humberhead Levels
• Over 46,000 volunteer hours have been recorded across the partnership worth over £246,000
• We have set up a new network of Gateway Sites for visitors to the Humberhead Levels
• We have developed the UK’s first reed based domestic fuel briquette
• We have demonstrated the improved benefits to people and society from our work

Our Report on Success 2012-2015 is availble below


For more information contact Yorkshire Wildlife Trust on 01302 853941 or email

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FilenameFile size
HHL NIA Success 2012-15 Report1.27 MB

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