Durham Wildlife Trust has marked its half-century by unveiling its 50th nature reserve.

The Trust launched its ‘50@50’ campaign two years ago – aiming to grow its number of nature reserves from 42 to 50 by the end of its 50th anniversary year.

And its latest acquisition, which will be known as Cuthbert’s Moor, a 300-acre site in Teesdale, means that the Trust can celebrate the success of its campaign.

The 50@50 initiative is part of The Wildlife Trusts’ wider objective to protect 30 per cent of land and sea for wildlife by 2030. The Trusts consider this essential to combat the decline of wildlife in the UK, considered one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth.

Durham Wildlife Trust director, Jim Cokill, said: ”In the summer of 2020, Durham Wildlife Trust launched its 50@50 campaign and set a target of growing the number of wild spaces we manage from 42 to 50 by the end of the charity’s 50th anniversary year in summer 2022.

People now value wildlife more than ever, and there’s growing understanding of just how important the natural world is to modern society. Nature will form part of any solution to the climate crisis; if we don’t take action to restore wildlife, we won’t stop climate change.

“That can only happen if people want it to happen, but the generosity of our supporters shows that people do indeed want to see nature restored. The success of the 50@50 campaign is proof that it’s not too late to take action.”

Cuthbert’s Moor, designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, is home to a variety of species, including curlew, snipe, meadow pipits, skylark, common lizard, and stoat.

This upland moorland is also the first nature reserve of its kind that Durham Wildlife Trust has acquired. The Trust will spend the next year surveying the site and its wildlife to inform its long-term nature recovery plans.

Mark Dinning, Head of Conservation for Durham Wildlife Trust, said: “Cuthbert’s Moor is a substantial new acquisition for Durham Wildlife Trust. At just over 100 hectares, it a small but impressive piece of the much wider North Pennines upland moorland habitats.

“This is an area that is truly representative of the climate and nature crisis, with potential to store carbon and support populations of species in fast decline. Bringing a wider understanding to the ecological potential and the benefits of restoration practices on Cuthbert’s Moor will be vital in securing a future for wildlife across all UK landscapes.”

(Source: Press release issued by Durham Wildlife Trust on 13 October)