In 1961, intensive farming practices, the draining of wetlands and unchecked development were affecting habitats and threatening iconic species such as the otter. A small group of committed naturalists came together and formed what would become the Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) – to protect wildlife and to fight for its future.
Our members are our lifeblood – they fund our work and give weight to our voice. During the 1980s and 90s, with the Dipper as our emblem, we worked hard to build our supporter base. Today Devon Wildlife Trust has 33,000 members and an ambitious aim to increase our membership even further.
Volunteers are at the heart of our work. Devon Wildlife Trust was founded by volunteers. Today 350 regular volunteers and eight Local Groups support the Trust to deliver its aims and realise its vision.
Devon Wildlife Trust currently manages over 45 nature reserves, conserving and protecting some of the county’s most beautiful landscapes. We want to establish more reserves across Devon to create a thriving network of habitats for wildlife and inspiring places for people to visit.
Devon Wildlife Trust saves and protects rare and threatened species. Fifty years ago volunteers successfully campaigned to stop the picking of wild daffodils at Dunsford nature reserve. Today we are providing a lifeline for species such as fritillary butterflies and bats.
We are not afraid to stand up for wildlife. In 2008 Devon Wildlife Trust led a successful campaign to protect Lyme Bay’s delicate reefs. Today we are campaigning for sustainable fisheries and for a network of marine nature reserves around the UK’s coasts.
We believe the best way to protect wildlife is to work with people who know the land best. Devon Wildlife Trust has been working alongside farmers in North Devon for over a decade to conserve wildlife rich Culm Grassland. Since 2008, the Working Wetlands project has restored and re-created 2,000 hectares of this threatened habitat.
Gifts and legacies
Lady’s Wood was Devon Wildlife Trust’s first nature reserve and a gift from founder members, the Hurrell family. Fifty years on, Lady’s Wood is a haven for the threatened dormouse. Gifts and legacies continue to play a vital role in shaping the course of our work for wildlife.
We work to ensure that the next generation can protect wildlife for the future. Devon Wildlife Trust works with thousands of children and families every year, inspiring and educating through activities such as school visits, rockpool rambles and our local Wildlife Watch groups.
Breaking down barriers
We want everyone in Devon to value, enjoy and benefit from their natural heritage, regardless of where they live. The Exeter Wild City project, with its network of Wildlife Champions, aims to make the city a better, greener place for wildlife and for people.
We are committed to safeguarding and celebrating the landscapes which make Devon special. Devon Wildlife Trust supports over a hundred events and activities every year and our annual Wildlife Festival has grown to become the single biggest celebration of the county’s natural assets.
Safeguarding our future
There is a huge amount still to be done. Vital habitat is needlessly destroyed every year and the importance of wildlife to our economy, our health and our happiness is still not fully recognised or valued. Become a supporter and help us to protect wildlife and preserve Devon’s natural heritage for the future.