Plants on the Edge – Press Release

Dr M.E. Bradshaw’s Teesdale Special Flora Research & Conservation Trust  receives grant of  £222,400 from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund 

Dr M.E. Bradshaw’s Teesdale Special Flora Research & Conservation Trust has been awarded a grant from the Government’s £40 million second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, a multi-million pound boost for green jobs and nature recovery. 

Ninety nature projects across England have been awarded grants from £68,100 to £1,950,000 to create and retain over 1,000 green jobs, backed by the Government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund. 

Work will be carried out on over 600 sites from North Northumberland to the tip of Cornwall, and combined with the first round, almost a million trees will be planted, contributing towards the Government’s commitment to treble tree planting rates across England by the end of this Parliament. 

In Upper Teesdale, the award will enable the Trust to embark on its ‘Plants on the Edge’ programme to protect the rare arctic-alpine species by conducting surveys and trialling conservation methods.  The programme will be delivered in partnership with Northern Heartlands and North Pennines AONB with support from the Raby and Strathmore estates. 

Dr. Margaret Bradshaw, who founded the Trust, said:  “I’m absolutely delighted that we will be receiving this grant.  It’s going to help us to take the first steps to reverse the catastrophic decline in the rare flora of Teesdale.  This flora is very special – it is worthy of treasuring and protecting. 

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. Connecting people with nature is another priority theme: by increasing access to nature and greenspaces, projects will support both physical and mental wellbeing. The Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies  The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission. 


Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said:  

“The diverse and ambitious projects being awarded funding today will help environmental organisations employ more people to work on tree-planting, nature restoration and crucially, help more of the public to access and enjoy the outdoors. 

“Through our £80 million Fund, we are on track to support over 2,500 jobs, plant almost a million trees and increase nature recovery at a huge scale across the country, which will help us deliver against our 25 Year Environment Plan.” 

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:  

“From wetland restoration, to creating wildlife-rich habitat for bees, it is vital that we value, protect and rebuild our natural heritage. This new funding will not only allow projects to carry out direct conservation which is essential in protecting our biodiversity, but it will increase awareness of how and why we need to change our behaviours in order to protect our future.”   

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: 

“By supporting jobs from Northumberland to Somerset, the Green Recovery Challenge Fund will help deliver a nature positive future. The fund supports young people to develop skills needed to protect nature, build back greener and prepare for climate impacts, like floods and heatwaves.” 

Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said:  

“Our environmental and conservation charity sector does an incredible job in protecting, improving and restoring the natural environment for the benefit of communities and the economy.” 

Forestry Commission Chair Sir William Worsley said: 

“This funding will help deliver thousands more trees and help us achieve our target of trebling tree planting rates in England by the end of the Parliament. We need to work towards net zero emissions by 2050; to address biodiversity loss; to better connect people with nature; and to create more green jobs in doing so. Trees are central to this and the projects being awarded these grants will have a hugely important role in helping us realise these objectives. 

A full list of awards is available to view at: 


Notes to editors 

The Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.’ 

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund 
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.  

Dr M.E. Bradshaw’s Teesdale Special Flora Research & Conservation Trust 




Teesdale’s ‘plants on the edge’ thrown a lifeline 


The urgency of protecting Upper Teesdale’s unique assembly of plants has been recognised with a £222,400 award from the National Lottery’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. 

The award will enable Dr M.E. Bradshaw’s Teesdale Special Flora Research and Conservation Trust to extend its work to survey and protect rare arctic-alpine species such as the iconic blue Spring Gentian during 2022-23.   

Trust founder Dr. Bradshaw said: “We’ve called our programme  Plants on the Edge to reflect the truly shocking losses revealed by recent surveys.  Of the 19 rare species in the ‘Teesdale Assemblage’, 18 showed a reduction in their extent, equating to an overall 54% average decline.”  These included Teesdale Sandwort, Mountain Everlasting and the Teesdale Violet. 

Teesdale has the highest concentration of rare higher plant species in a small area – over 100 in the river Tees catchment, with a core of 21 where north meets south.  Plants such as (Dryas) Mountain Avens, a woody plant that was widespread in Britain 15-10,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age, it is still present on Cronkley Fell today. Just imagine those plants,  together with Hoary Rockrose, Spring Gentian and Teesdale Violet on Widdybank Fell,  being direct descendants of the Late Glacial Flora.”  

 Plants on the Edge will also encourage community involvement by offering opportunities for the public to learn about the Dale’s precious botanical heritage.  Northern Heartlands and North Pennines AONB are partners in the programme which starts in September.  The community involvement element will be the responsibility of a new post, managed by Northern Heartlands. 

Jill Cole, Northern Heartlands Director said: “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Teesdale Special Flora Trust on this important project.  The engagement element of the project will ensure that we can make even more people aware of what a valuable and unusual asset we have here on our doorstep in Teesdale. “  She added that it will be a great opportunity to show how creativity can help people to learn and discover more about the natural world around them. 

The grant will also include support for activities, materials and equipment for the long-running Upper Teesdale Botany Group, which teaches people botanical survey skills. “Training and resourcing the group will support our volunteers, who are so essential in securing Margaret’s legacy and the long term future of the rare flora’.