Greener Greenways create corridors for wildlife

Cyclists on Greener Greenway 8 in Scotland

Greener Greenways is a Biodiversity conservation project that focuses on 66 traffic-free walking and cycling routes owned or managed by Sustrans across Wales, England and Scotland.

In order to improve levels of knowledge about the nature along its greenways, Sustrans will identify what flora and fauna inhabit our greenways through an expert survey, volunteer surveys, data searches and consultation with conservation organisations.

Using the data from England and Wales, we will study the current and potential role of the route in reducing habitat fragmentation in collaboration with York University.

This information will inform the development of habitat management plans and enable Sustrans to protect and enhance habitats and species populations, and increase biodiversity along the route and habitat connectivity.

The Greener Greenways routes total 418km in length and link with over 5,000km of additional greenways across the UK. The initial pilot in England and Wales ran for three and a half years, between May 2013 and Nov 2016, and is being rolled out across the UK between 2017 and 2019.

In Scotland, the project will target 100km of greenways managed by Sustrans and over 100km of greenways owned and managed by other organisations. These are part of just under 600 miles of traffic-free greenways in Scotland.

The pilot project ran in Scotland for three years, between August 2013 and August 2016, and is now being used to inform future plans for managing greenways across Scotland from 2017 onwards.

The context for our Greener Greenways project

Historically nature conservation efforts in the UK have focused on protecting particular sites or species - an approach that has failed to stem the overall loss of biodiversity in the UK. 

The recent Lawton report Making Space for Nature (2010) (pdf) concluded that England’s wildlife sites do not form a coherent and resilient ecological network capable of coping with environmental change. 

Greener greenways partner organisations

You can be involved in looking after and learning about nature along your local greenway. Read about becoming a volunteer Wildlife champion. We are also setting up ‘friends of’ groups to act as guardians and advocates of each greenway.

Download our Greenway management handbook

See a list of greenways involved in our project