Funds are available for a wide range of environmental projects

Volunteer hedge planters at Gotten Leaze Farm: Ted and Debs Downer, Fiona and Sam Biles, Annie Winn, Ruth and Steve Smith

The Island’s National Landscape (IWNL) (formerly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) offers grants for environmental projects.

Farmers, landowners, environmental organisations and parish councils are invited to apply for Farming in Protected Landscapes funds to support a wide range of countryside projects.

There is substantial finance available to support initiatives including climate change (carbon storage and flood risk), improvements for wildlife (creating, managing and connecting habitats), providing better access to the countryside, and enhancing the Island’s landscape and historic features.

Offering financial help across this broad range of topics will enable imaginative and exciting ideas to be realised, with 100 per cent funding available in some cases.

Mark Simmons, farm adviser for IWNL, says: “This is a golden opportunity to achieve those projects you always wanted to do, but where financial support was not previously available. The grant is within local control, so the best outcomes for the Island can be secured.”

Sam and Fiona Biles, from Calbourne, commended the project; they said: “We received clear guidance and developed a programme principally around restoring the historic hedgerows on our pasture farm. Our old hedgelines show on 18th and 19th century maps of Calbourne, however some had disappeared over the years and others had become gappy and lost the bottom layer so important for nature conservation. It is not just about normal farming and conservation activities, but can be used to fund works such as nature interpretation, repairing features such as the historic Calbourne village-pump canopy.”

Funding must be allocated and spent before March 2025. For help, contact Mark Simmons, who will be pleased to guide you through the process and support your project, at mark.simmons@iow.gov.uk or call him on 07851 093532.