We are a landscape partnership, led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and a variety of organisations including local councils, groups, charities and statutory bodies.
Our vision is to create a ‘landscape rich in wildlife and accessible to all’ that has at its centre the most important cluster of ancient woods in Warwickshire, including Ryton, Wappenbury and Bubbenhall Woods. The area is located between east Coventry, east Rugby and north and east Leamington Spa.
Our funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund enabled us to deliver a £1.2 million scheme, during which we completed a series of conservation projects to restore heritage and improve the area for wildlife, whilst also reconnecting local people with their landscape. We did this by improving access, interpretation and learning, so that everyone can enjoy the Dunsmore Living Landscape. Thank you to players of the National Lottery who made this possible.
The project aims to continue to improve the area for wildlife, provide training and volunteering opportunities so that local people can gain heritage conservation skills, and deliver a programme of exciting events and activities aimed at all ages and interests. Watch this space for what comes next!
At the heart of the Dunsmore area lie 20 woodlands covering 618 hectares.
They represent more than 10% of the whole of Warwickshire’s ancient woodland. These woodlands are a treasure trove of biodiversity, home to many species of insect, butterfly, plants and birds.
NLHF funding brought a new landscape-scale level of action for wildlife in the area and allowed us to restore 300 hectares of ancient woodland, 20km of historic hedgerows including old parish boundaries, 10 ponds and 20 hectares of flower rich grassland between 2017 and 2022. This created habitat for iconic wildlife such as the hazel dormouse and Purple Emperor butterfly.
This area of countryside also tells a fascinating story of prehistoric Heidelberg man and the rise and fall of empires.
From the discovery of a half a million year old hand axe in a quarry near Bubbenhall, to Roman barracks at Baginton, Saxon settlements at Wappenbury and Norman fortifications at Brinklow, a visitor to the area is able to discover much of the nation’s history.
Grand landscape designs at Coombe Abbey and Stoneleigh Abbey have also left their mark, not least in the nationally important collections of veteran and ancient trees.
The Dunsmore scheme aims to restore this ancient landscape to one rich in wildlife and accessible to all.
By working with local partners, landowners and communities we improve habitats, help to conserve historical sites and improve access, interpretation and general information about the area. We provide learning and training opportunities and run a range of events and activities, designed to reconnect people with their local living landscape, green spaces and heritage sites.
The scheme works to create a sense of ownership and understanding that will ensure the continuity of the Dunsmore Living Landscape.