Nature’s Holme

We are blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the country – but with the climate and biodiversity emergency nature needs a helping hand.

Nature’s Holme is a project that aims to restore 2800ha (about a quarter) of the landscape here in the Holme Valley, Yorkshire.

One of 22 nationally important projects funded by DEFRA, a collection of organisations and over 20 landowners have come together to plan and design interventions to improve water quality and increase biodiversity throughout the River Holme catchment.

Nature’s Holme intends to boost wider access opportunities for everyone, improve biodiversity, create quality local jobs and help the Holme Valley and Kirklees become net zero. It aims to achieve this by exploring river restoration opportunities, woodland creation, peatland restoration, accessible path extensions, wildflower meadow creation and natural flood management works such as ponds and scrapes to store water.


UK rivers are in a sorry state, wildlife populations are declining, the climate is changing and the economy is struggling. Combined with this, communities found themselves during the pandemic rekindling their love for the outdoors – accessing riverside paths that have fallen into a poor state of repair. These challenges we are facing can seem overwhelming and with no common solution.

However, the new Landscape Recovery project, Nature’s Holme, seeks to address these issues and more.

The UK government recently passed the Environment Act 2021, which included three new avenues to subsidise landowners in the UK under the new Environment Land Management schemes (ELMs).

One of these new ELMs avenues, Landscape Recovery, seeks to explore opportunities to restore habitats at scale, improve biodiversity and climate resilience whilst examining new revenue streams for landowners.

Landscape Recovery will specifically assess and seek investment from private sources; with business increasingly investing in local nature and carbon projects to fulfil their legal obligations and customer sustainability ambitions. Nature’s Holme will provide the opportunity for Kirklees businesses to invest with confidence.

The focus is the River Holme and its tributaries, with the proposed activities aimed at improving water quality, slowing the flow of water and improving habitat connectivity across the valley.

As well as seeking to increase rural employment opportunities and stimulate local economies, Nature’s Holme will co-create and design:

  • Restoring 2200Ha of peatland so it sequesters carbon again
  • Planting 200Ha of river bank forest
  • Planting 60Ha of hedgerows connecting adjacent woodlands
  • Restoring 210Ha of conifer plantations on ancient woodland
  • Exploring river restoration opportunities such as natural channel realignment and adapting/removing weirs for fish passage
  • Creating 20Ha of wildflower meadows enhancing biodiversity and increasing pollinators


The project is currently in the feasibility stage, as the team explore with all those interested; the possibilities for restoring the River Holme.

The Landscape Recovery funding is to produce a set of plans that will detail exactly how and where the restoration activities will take place, how they will be funded, what licenses will be required and the associated governance of managing a decadal project.

A lot of the work involves engagement with the landowners and communities around the river to see what is feasible socially and culturally, as well as the economic and ecological considerations.

More Information

Find out more about the Nature’s Holme project by signing up to our newsletter.

Areas of interest