Origins of the Trust

Dr M E Bradshaw’s Teesdale Special Flora Research and Conservation Trust (‘Teesdale Special Flora’) was established as a Trust by Margaret Bradshaw in 2017.

In 2020, the trust became a registered company limited by guarantee (No. 12436150) and a registered charity (No. 118828).

The aims of the trust are: 

– to promote, for the public benefit, the protection, conservation and improvement of the physical and natural environment and biodiversity 

– to advance the education of the public in the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment. 

In practice, this includes conducting botanical surveys and sharing the findings with land managers and agencies, supporting the Upper Teesdale Botany Group and encouraging interest through guided walks, lectures and exhibitions. 

Management of the Trust

The Trust and the Upper Teesdale Botany Group are entirely managed and run by volunteers.

Dr Margaret Bradshaw is Director and we have six Trustees.  The Trustees meet on a monthly basis.  A member of the Upper Teesdale Botany Group also attends the meeting. 

In addition to the Board we have a number of smaller management groups who plan and coordinate the work of the Upper Teesdale Botany Group, Plants on the Edge and the Survey,

Founder and Director

Dr Margaret E Bradshaw (Proctor) MBE

I am an ‘incomer’ from a farm on the Yorkshire Wolds, now hefted to the Teesdale Fells, drawn here in 1951 in search of Teesdale’s rare flora. Whilst teaching in Bishop Auckland, an encounter with Dr Max Walter (Cambridge University) initiated my study and mapping of rare Lady’s Mantle species in Teesdale and Weardale.  After gaining a Ph.D. at Durham University I joined the Adult Education Department, meanwhile continuing to study the flora and environment of the North Pennines with Botany Classes in Teesdale. I was part of the Teesdale Defence Committee that opposed the building of the reservoir at Cow Green in the late 1960s  and have been involved in research into the Teesdale special flora, and an advocate for its conservation ever since.  In 2017, conscious that several of the rare species were declining and frustrated by lack of effective action on their conservation, I founded the Upper Teesdale Special Flora Research and Conservation Trust.  

Trustees

Margaret’s infectious enthusiasm, coupled with her extraordinary botanical knowledge and desire to share this, has attracted Trustees from very different backgrounds, with a variety of skills: 

Dr Tom Gledhill (Chair)

I’m an archaeologist, working for Historic England, with a passion for plants. I first attended Margaret’s botany classes in 2001 which only served to increase my love of botany and Teesdale alike and gave me a strong sense of the importance of its flora. 

Dr Geoff Herbert (Treasurer)

I am an organic chemist by training, but I have been a keen wildlife photographer for many years, specialising particularly in birds and wild flowers. When I moved to Barnard Castle, a lot of the plants in Teesdale were new to me. To find out more and to assist my photography, I joined the Upper Teesdale Botany Group. I quickly learned what a special place Teesdale is and became fascinated with its flora. I have become very aware of the need to protect this unique habitat and its remarkable variety of plants. 

Julia Nelson

Until retirement from working in public health, I had little knowledge of botany beyond enjoying seeing wild plants then I joined Margaret’s Upper Teesdale Botany Group.  Learning about the area’s wonderful flora through presentations and kneeling to peer at small plants have been a revelation and I’m still learning.

Lizzie Maddison

My first experience of Upper Teesdale was through field courses on Widdybank and Cronkley Fell as part of my Botany degree many years ago.  I started my teaching career in a crumbling inner-city school and soon appreciated the value of practical biology in engaging students.  

I was privileged to meet Dr Margaret Bradshaw on my retirement and have attended her Upper Teesdale Botany Group ever since – recently taking on the role of Chairperson. I have also taught a range of courses on botany and survey skills, often involving recording the rare plants in Upper Teesdale.  

Linda Robinson

I’m a farmer’s daughter, born and raised in Melmerby in the Eden Valley. My early work for the then Nature Conservancy Council at Moor House Field Station in the included surveying and helping to designate potential SSSI’s in northern England and helping with research into the effects of burning and grazing on different upland vegetation types. 

I help with fieldwork for the Cumbria Flora plus volunteering with the Cumbria Wildlife Trust and since 2008 I’ve been the BSBI Recorder for North-West Yorkshire. And  sometimes I help my partner Bob with a bit of roofing and general building work! 

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Bruce Wilkinson (Vice Chair)

In the company of  botanists and ecologists I’m the token geographer.  Originally from Teesdale I grew up on a farm near Middleton.  Generally I’ve followed the scenic route through life getting involved with a range of interesting people, projects and organisations along the way.  It’s given me a broad base of skills to draw on in the role of Trustee.  

Upper Teesdale Botany Group Representative

Tricia Snaith 

I’m the reluctant botanist, my interest lies in the ecology and structure of these rare habitats, the whys and what ifs. These incredible habitats on our doorstep have to be saved and understood. The more questions we answer, the more questions we create. I love spreadsheets and GIS alongside looking a data patterns, I hate paperwork and like to keep things simple.  

My primary role in the botany group is to facilitate Margaret getting up onto Cronkley Fell, using Sigma, my daughter’s old mare. I look forward to meeting you in the field, doing things. 

Funders and Supporters

Initially Margaret used her own savings initially to pay for professional botanist John O’Reilly to start the current survey of the Special Flora.  

Since then many individuals have contributed, through direct donations or our Just Giving site https://www.justgiving.com/teesdalespecialflora and we have also received grants from: 

The Wild Flower Society and Natural England.  

In July 2021 we were awarded our first major grant through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund which will enable us to extend our survey and conservation work and to work with the wider community during 2022-23. 

Our thanks go to everyone who is supporting the Trust to conserve this area’s unique flora. 

Charity Number, Company Information and Data Privacy

Registered company address: 

Lady’s Mantle, Hill Top, Eggleston, Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 0AU 

 

Registered company limited by guarantee, no: 12436150 

Registered Charity number: 1188288 

 

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