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The Humberhead Levels Partnership

Rolling plains of unique wetland landscape, in an area long managed by the local farming community - the Humberhead Levels are a rich breeding ground for wildlife. 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?

  • 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

Twelve organisations working together

Map of the Humberhead Levels


To make a difference across such a huge area, a partnership of 12 organisations have developed a shared vision and are working closely together to tackle the environmental problems of the area. Whether the issue is flooding, or insufficient water for irrigation or the drying out of internationally important wildlife sites, the solutions lie in fitting these differing needs together to benefit all.  It's like a big wet jigsaw puzzle and we’ve lost the box with the picture!

See how far the Humberhead Levels extend
- click on the map

Working in partnership we are achieving more...

The Partnership successfully delivered a £2.6million DEFRA funded scheme from 2012 to 2015. Thanks to a £248,000 grant from WREN’s Biodiversity Action Fund, the Humberhead Levels Partnership delivery is moving into phase 2 with the Reconnecting the Humberhead Levels Project! Aiming to deliver a more connected environment for people and wildlife, the end result of the project will be a more valued and robust natural environment.

Working together the Humberhead Levels Partnership has so far:

  • Created 1190 hectares of better, bigger, more and joined-up wildlife habitat successfully improved the quality and created new stepping stone wetlands
  • Increased the number of breeding sites for two focal species
  • Worked with over 59 land owners and farmers
  • Provided £76,000 of grants to land owners and farmers for wildlife work
  • Demonstrated increased connectivity across the Humberhead Levels
  • Recorded over 46,000 volunteer hours have across the partnership sites
  • Set up a new network of Gateway Sites for visitors to the Humberhead Levels
  • Developed the UK’s first reed based domestic fuel briquette

New Nature Improvement Area

Humberhead Levels Nature Improvement Area map










A large pdf version of this map is available to download at the bottom of the page

Wonderful Wildlife!

Over the next 3 years practical works will focus on 13 key sites and will see invaluable improvements to priority habitats including wet woodland, lowland raised bog and reedbed that will benefit key wildlife species such as crane, nightjar and water voles amongst many others.

The Humberhead Levels is a great place to visit for an extraordinary range of wildlife. The great mires, birch woodlands and reedbeds of the area support species like the nightjar, adder, bittern, water vole, marsh harrier, otter, nightingale, large heath butterfly and amazing unique tiny creatures such as the Thorne pin-palp beetle, the bog hog beetle, the hairy canary fly and the scarce vapourer moth!

Black tailed godwit - photo credit Rob StonemanLittle grebe - photo credit Jo MeaysOtter snacking - photo credit Wildstock

Great places to visit on the Levels


To discuss the work of the partnership and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's strategic development of this Living Landscape please contact Michael Rogers via email.


FilenameFile size
The Humberhead Levels Nature Improvement Area map.pdf4.19 MB