Founded in 2006, the Doddington Hall Conservation Charity (no. 1114539) aims to:

  • Advance education regarding conservation of artworks, heritage and natural environment at the Doddington Estate.
  • Promote the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment on the Doddington Estate.

National Lottery Heritage Funding secured to develop project to connect people with nature at Wilder Doddington

The Doddington Hall Conservation Charity has been awarded initial support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the Wilder Connections project. Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to develop a wide range of programmes designed to broaden access to and deepen engagement with nature; and to create opportunities for young people to gain skills to help them get fulfilling nature-based/outdoor jobs and take advantage of new career opportunities arising from changing agriculture and environmental policy.

Development funding of £185,000 has been awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help progress plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant at a later date.

In 2021, the Doddington Estate embarked on Wilder Doddington, a 100-year nature recovery project which has been supported by a Natural England Countryside Stewardship Scheme, it is the largest such ‘wilding’ scheme in the East Midlands, becoming the largest inland nature area in Greater Lincolnshire, providing many ecological services such as increased biodiversity, carbon sequestration, cleaner water and reduced flooding.

Wilder Connections aims to realise the huge opportunities to build nature-based social, educational and wider economic benefits on the back of the nature recovery at Wilder Doddington by working in partnership with local and national community and educational organisations.

letting nature recover, letting people connect to nature




Introduction to UK Habitat Surveying

Saturday 28 January 2023, 10am – 5pm

“I was incredibly fortunate to have parents who were passionate about nature. I now see that this gave me an inbuilt sense of connectedness to nature and an appreciation of the interdependence between humans and the natural world. This has been a huge driver in my adult life. The climate and biodiversity crises have arisen in part because the number of those lucky enough to feel such a connection has drastically declined and there is a lack of understanding of the huge range of ecological, economic, and social benefits that nature brings us.

The Wilder Connections project is designed to realise a fantastic opportunity at Doddington to help address this. Thanks to National Lottery players we are going to develop a wide range of projects designed to help people build their understanding of nature, their connection to it, and to benefit from all the health, happiness and resilience it can bring. We want to demonstrate the true value of nature, to influence policy and research, and ultimately to create opportunities for people to play their part in a more sustainable future.”
Claire Birch
Wilder Doddington Project Director

Using money raised by the National Lottery, The National Lottery Heritage Fund inspires, leads and resources the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future:

Each week, thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised for good causes across the UK.


  • To build the Wilder Doddington visitor base, increasing its inclusivity and diversity.

  • To broaden access to and deepen engagement with nature.

  • To create opportunities, for young people to gain skills and experience that can help them get fulfilling nature-based/outdoor jobs and take advantage of new career opportunities arising from changing agriculture and environmental policy.

“Climate change is one of the greatest threats we face. Wilder Connections is an alternative to wringing hands by demonstrating how working closely with nature can have benefits for all of us, and for the planet on which we depend. We can’t expect people to care about nature if they haven’t had a chance to connect to it or experience it first hand.

Wilder Connections offers opportunities for all ages, especially for those who do not necessarily have easy access to nature. They can develop green skills, increase their environmental knowledge and get involved as a citizen scientist. They can also boost their health and well-being whilst knowing that they are playing a key role in boosting biodiversity.”
Mark Castle
Field Studies Council CEO

We have partnered with the Field Studies Council, GB’s premier organisation for environmental education, to develop a programme of visits from local primary and secondary schools; adult education; and Young Darwin bursaries for less advantaged learners.

Key activities that will be developed in the next 12 months include:

  • Partnership with the University of Lincoln to build opportunities for students and academics to gain fieldwork skills and complete research at Wilder Doddington.
  • Development of a wide range of volunteering opportunities enabling people from diverse backgrounds to benefit from the social, mental and physical well-being of outdoor, nature-based work.
  • Programmes to build resilience and improve mental and physical health through connection to nature such as green and social prescribing.
  • Programme of community visits aimed at people who do not readily access green spaces.
  • Work with local CIC Hill Holt Wood to develop nature-based, outdoor learning and qualifications at Doddington for young learners with special educational needs or are at risk of exclusion from school.
  • Detailed plans for new trails around Wilder Doddington, with citizen science and interpretation to encourage more diverse casual onsite visitors and help deepen engagement of all visitors to Wilder Doddington.
  • Plans for construction of the ‘Wild House’, a cutting-edge exemplar of sustainable building techniques as a base for educational and community activities.
  • Plans to rewet part of the estate to increase aquatic biodiversity, clean water and provide natural flood management for Lincoln.
  • Wide range of opportunities for farmers, land managers and professionals to learn about nature recovery, carbon and soil health, and natural flood management.

“We are thrilled to work with Doddington” said Julian Free, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Lincoln. “Wilder Doddington provides an excellent field site for us, and through Wilder Connections we will be able to connect a much wider range of students and staff with this beautiful location and build the knowledge and skills needed for a healthy future for citizens and the planet.”