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Middle Marches Community Land Trust launch event, April 2019
In March 2019, six local residents met to discuss the possibility of launching a Community Land Trust in the Marches.
The idea initially came from a report on the Stepping Stones project in the Shropshire Hills written by Richard Keymer and Jonathan Brown. The background to the estbalishment of the Middle Marches Community Land Trust is summarised below.
Background to the establishment of the Middle Marches Community Land Trust
The Shropshire Hills contains two large upland nature reserves: the Long Mynd, owned and managed by the National Trust, and The Stiperstones, owned and managed by Natural England. The two organisations agreed to establish a project to create linkages between the two sites which, together with improved management, would help make them bigger, better and joined – key aspirations for improving England’s network of protected sites.
The project was named ‘Stepping Stones’ and in 2015 Richard Keymer undertook a contract for Natural England and the National Trust to carry out a scoping study for the project. This study was able to build on a long history of landscape scale and community-based projects in the area, most recently a Landscape Partnership Scheme in the Stiperstones and Corndon area, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The objectives of the Stepping Stones Project are to:
- Improve the ecological viability and climate resilience of the habitats and species on the Long Mynd and Stiperstones through better ecological connectivity (stepping stones and corridors) between these two important sites.
- Increase populations of the special wildlife species of the Shropshire Hills.
- Help buffer the two sites from change by increasing the extent of important habitats found on and around the Long Mynd and the Stiperstones and by improving the conservation management of neighbouring land and land between the two sites where possible.
- Where possible, to do this in perpetuity.
The last bullet point relates to acquiring land for conservation purposes, amongst other things, and can really only be achieved by establishing an independent Trust which can act unhindered by bureaucracy.
In 2016 the National Trust and Natural England let a contract to Richard Keymer and Jonathan Brown to set out the background to and requirements for establishing a Community Land Trust in the Marches. In 2019, Richard Keymer, Jonathan Brown and four others decided that the time was right to proceed with the establishment of the Middle Marches Community Land Trust.
To help create an ecologically healthy and sustainable countryside in the Middle Marches to inspire both residents and visitors.
Get in touch
Enterprise House, Station Street, Bishops Castle, SY9 5AQ
01743 891492 (Dr Richard Keymer)