Over the past 25 years, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has documented a 70% decline in numbers of breeding lapwings and an 83 per cent fall in breeding redshank (wader birds) in the Avon Valley.

Launched in 2014, The EU LIFE+ ‘Waders for Real’ project aims to halt and reverse these declines in a time of increased threat to wildlife.

The project also involves monitoring the outcome of these works, from radio-tracking lapwing chicks to better understand the fine-scale habitat structures that ensure increased chick survival.

So far, the project has seen increases in these endangered birds in the Avon Valley, with lapwing pairs increasing from 62 in 2015 to 81 in 2016 and a jump in redshank pairs from 19 in 2015 to 28 in 2016.

The scientists at GWCT are starting to better understand which techniques are most effective in increasing breeding success of the waders and hope to record further successes with bird numbers, but also want to look at the benefits to the wider ecosystem.

Lizzie Grayshon, the project officer and a wetlands research assistant at GWCT, pictured, said: “The Waders for Real project has given us the opportunity to work closely with a whole network of farmers, land owners and keepers to target lapwing conservation.

“Being able to see some positive results after the first two years is really encouraging and really good to feedback to everyone putting in the hard work to make it happen.”

Together in the Avon Valley, scientists and farmers are working together to reverse declining wildlife numbers, which is a promising development in the fight to protect Britain’s wildlife alongside maintaining economically sensible agricultural practices.

To find out more information about the project, visit https://www.gwct.org.uk/research/species/birds/lapwing-and-other-waders/waders-for-real/