Parish Nature Recovery Survey Report
Oxfordshire Treescape Project have been delivering Treescape Opportunity Reports to parish groups since October 2021. Since then the range of resources offered and our ways of working have developed. In April 2023 a survey was sent to the 76 parish groups that had viewed our Opportunity Maps (the majority as pdf Reports, but some in addition or solely as interactive maps on the Land App), the aim of which was to understand what resources for nature recovery are already at parish councils’ disposal; how useful different resources provided by OTP have been; what would most help parishes move forward with nature recovery planning and activities.
Responses were received from representatives of 18 parish groups. Of these, 13 had or were considering a Neighbourhood Plan (NP) within their parish. Nine of these 13 thought it likely or very likely that their NP would support nature recovery in the parish, highlighting that NPs could be a key tool for parishes in nature recovery.
The key theme to emerge was the importance of human connection: the difficulty of engaging with landowners came through strongly, as did the value of volunteers, connections with other groups such as neighbouring parishes and discussions with the Oxfordshire Treescape Project team. Respondents who had good relationships with local landowners described them as among their greatest strengths, but the majority wanted better guidance on how to approach them. Volunteers are highly valued, but respondents felt that volunteers lacked time.
The most used and influential OTP resources were discussions with the team, introductions to relevant people or organisations and the maps, in Opportunity Reports and in the Land App. The maps within the Opportunity Reports were the most used and most useful sections, being used to plan nature recovery and share ideas with parish councils. Some respondents felt that the maps could be improved in terms of accuracy and level of detail.