Lottery funds Northumberland National Trust site to become England's pine marten haven

13.11.23 Pine Marten Credit: Robert Cruickshanks
The Vincent Wildlife Trust 'Martens on the Move' hopes to recover and return rare pine martens to the Scottish and English borders with a share of £1.2m funding from the National Lottery's Heritage fund. Credit: Robert Cruickshanks

A popular Northumberland visitor attraction is to become England's pine marten haven.

The Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT), a mammal conservation charity, has been awarded £1.2 million of National Lottery Heritage funding for their 'Martens on the Move' project with the woodlands of Wallington, near Morpeth, chosen to be the English location.

Although once widespread throughout Britain, pine martens were almost extinct by the beginning of the 20th century.

  • Video Image Credit: Jason Hornblow

It is hoped this new four-year funding will build on the initial and positive connections made with partners, landowners, local communities and young people during the Martens on the Move development year (2022-2023), helping critically endangered pine martens spread further in the key recovery areas of Northumberland, Cumbria as well as the borders of Scotland and Wales.

Paul Hewitt is the Countryside Manager at Wallington's 5,321 hectare National Trust site.

Referring to the pine marten project, he said: "This critically endangered animal has been lost from swathes of our countryside for so long so it’s fantastic news that this project has been awarded funding to both raise the profile of the pine marten and work towards its recovery across the country.

"We’re delighted that Wallington has been selected as the haven site for England. This work forms part of the Wilder Wallington project, which is helping nature recovery at a landscape scale and we’re really looking forward to more people being able to experience the excitement of seeing this beautiful native species in our woods here at Wallington again.”

Although once widespread throughout Britain, critically-endangered pine martens were almost extinct by the beginning of the 20th century. Credit: Robert Cruickshanks (L/R) / Jason Hornblow (centre)

Mr Hewitt added: "Thanks to the work of organisations like Forestry and Land Scotland, populations have been slowly making a comeback. This success has more recently been repeated in parts of England and Wales thanks to VWT’s successful Pine Marten Recovery Project."

A National Lottery Heritage Fund spokesperson described the project as a "pivotal moment" for pine marten conservation and working alongside partners and communities as "inspiring."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...