Heart of Durham



The Heart of Durham is a partnership project with Durham Wildlife Trust and Northumbrian Water Limited.

Based around the fringe of the North Pennines, stretching from Derwent Reservoir in the north to Hamsterley Forest in the south, the Heart of Durham Project works to restore and recreate areas of habitat over a period of many years, with the cumulative effect of restoring landscapes where wildlife can thrive on a landscape scale.

Life long learning is a fundamental part of the Heart of Durham, the project works with people of all ages from schools, universities, businesses and local community groups offering workshops, talks and lectures in adder ecology, small mammal trapping, butterfly identification and more.

The Heart of Durham Project promotes an understanding of the need for habitat management and conservation. As a volunteer you will have opportunities to learn practical skills, make new friends and gain experience in working to restore habitat for wildlife on a landscape scale.

Heart of Durham Projects


Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary

The inspiration for the Heart of Durham project arose from the plight of the small pearl-bordered fritillary (SPBF). The SPBF is one of the UK’s the most endangered resident butterfly species and is threatened with extinction in the Durham area, with numbers declining by at least 93% since the mid-nineteenth century.

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Adder Surveys & Habitat Restoration

The Heart of Durham offers training in adder survey techniques and collects and analyses records for adders sightings in order to determine adder numbers in County Durham. The Heart of Durham Project works to conserve and restore habitat areas for this charismatic reptile, as well as creating artificial hibernation sites.

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Dormouse Project

The Heart of Durham Project is grateful to D’Oyley Carte for their generous grant which is allowing the project to investigate the presence of dormice in Western County Durham. Working with guidelines from the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, the Heart of Durham team monitors dormouse boxes and tubes in various woodland locations.

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Heart of Durham Project Officer


Anne Porter

Anne Porter initially joined the Heart of Durham project as a volunteer, helping to carry out adder surveys on an 8-week placement as part of a Masters degree in Environmental Management. Anne’s dedication and enthusiasm for her work continues to inspire people of all ages to get involved in the Heart of Durham Project. To contact Anne, please email aporter@durhamwt.co.uk