Bulworthy Trust

Bulworthy Trust is a charity that we’re in the process of setting up, along with three other trustees. As a charity, Bulworthy Trust will be independent of Bulworthy Project. The original idea of the trust was to preserve the habitats on our land permanently, by leaving our land and business to a charity in our wills. We’re now going to use it to purchase more land to preserve and enhance habitats on as a community asset. The application to register Bulworthy Trust has gone to the Charity Commission, but from what we’ve heard, they probably won’t get around to registering it until 2022. We started a crowdfunder (link below) when the tv programme we were on (link also below) came out. Now that we know how long the delay is likely to be, we’ve decided to wait until the charity is registered before we actively raise funds. The crowdfunder is still open and the funds will go towards creating a nature reserve once we can.

The area surrounding Bulworthy Project was once dominated by culm grassland, which is a type of species rich acid grassland that once spread across North Devon and North Cornwall. You can see a list of typical culm species here . Due to changes in land management in the latter part of the 20th century, 92% of this valuable habitat has now been lost, leaving islands separated by areas of “improved grassland” which has little habitat value. This has been highlighted for us because our land is one of these islands. However much we improve habitats on our land, we can’t escape the fact that unless it is connected with other areas of similar habitat, species cannot spread, or reach the critical mass of abundance necessary to restore healthy populations. Within a few miles of us are a large number of patches of culm grassland including the largest area of culm grassland in existence. By acquiring land for Bulworthy Trust and making it into a haven for nature, we can do our bit to bridge these islands of habitat, allowing populations of flora and fauna to spread and thrive. Many of the species associated with culm grassland are endangered. We must act now so that future generations can live in a world where these species still exist.

As well as restoring and preserving culm grassland, we will also restore and preserve other habitats on land owned by Bulworthy Trust. This will involve managing hedges in the traditional local style and managing any areas of woodland using traditional sustainable woodland management techniques. When the trust acquires land, it will be surveyed by experienced ecologists and a management plan will be written up to maximise it’s habitat value.

We’re putting £10,000 of our own money into the charity, which we had saved up to buy land for ourselves. To ensure that the charity can continue to thrive and grow long term, we’re also going to leave our land, including the house and cabin that we built to Bulworthy Trust in our wills. This will provide an income in perpetuity.

It’s impossible for us to know how successful we’ll be with the crowdfunder. We’ve set a target of £55,000 because with the £10,000 that we’re donating and another £15,000 that has been pledged it comes to £80,000, which is the least that we could expect to buy land on the open market, but because we have local connections and we can promise that the land won’t ever be developed, we might be able to get some land the isn’t on the open market. If we don’t have sufficient funds when the crowdfunder is over we’ll look at grant funding and other funding options.

The official object of the charity is to promote the conservation of the physical and natural environment by promoting biological diversity and carbon sequestration. This will be undertaken in particular but not exclusively by acquiring land in the parish of Rackenford and the surrounding area, managing this land in such a way as to create, restore and protect habitats and increase carbon sequestration, and by raising awareness of the importance of this work.
All funds raised will be used for this work.

If you would like to see the wildflower meadow that we’ve restored on our own land, it’s featured in the second episode of this programme: (click on the image to watch)

If you would like to hear more about Bulworthy Trust, please let us have your name and email address so that we can contact you with updates on our progress.