Heathland Heartlands

The Heathland Heartlands project is based around South Stanley and works to establish closer links between communities and their local ‘doorstep’ heaths.

The project offers the opportunity for these local communities to be at the heart of the heaths’ restoration, helping to determine how sites are managed and using this as a catalyst for tackling some of the effects of deprivation.

The project seeks to increase the appreciation of, and access to, the heathland sites with the aim of improving the physical and mental health and well-being of local residents, offering the potential for skills training and thereby effecting regeneration within the communities themselves.

Lowland Heath
The UK has 20% of Europe’s lowland heath. Since the 1800s, 80% of this internationally important habitat and its associated natural and cultural heritage have been lost.

From aerial photographs taken in the 1930s, and comparisons with the present day, it has been confirmed that the extent of the Durham coalfields heathlands has also declined. Only small remnants remain mainly on urban fringes. These losses have resulted from various factors which include the lack of or inappropriate grazing, conifer planting, urban development and neglect by neighbouring communities.

The importance of the heathlands was recognised in the Durham BAP, now part of the NELNP, specific targets include;

  • To maintain the current extent and increase by 30ha the total area of lowland heathland
  • To achieve favourable or recovering condition for lowland heath within and outside of SSSIs
  • To maintain the range and population of dingy skipper
  • To increase the range and population of the small pearl-bordered fritillary

This project is one of three complementary projects taken forward by the Three Rivers Local Nature Partnership, to restore and regenerate Durham’s heathland heritage in its heartland communities.

Project Funders


Heathland Heartlands Project Officer

Lara Tedstone

Laura Tedstone works closely with her team of volunteers to restore heathland habitat in and around South Stanley. Working with local schools, Laura instills an appreciation and an awareness of the imporance these habitats have for wildlife and for the local area.