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New land donated to encourage nature’s recovery

The land was gifted by Michael Adler, in memory of his son James.

Members of the LRWT and the Adler family shake hands to officially handover the land. Photo Credit Andy Murdock
Members of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. Photo by Andy Murdock

Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust (LRWT) has received a generous gift of land for the recovery of nature in Market Harborough. It is now asking for the support of the local community to help guide its future.

The Trust plans to transform the site into a truly special reserve, bursting with wildlife and rich in biodiversity, positioning it firmly within the hearts of the local community while increasing the area of land protected for nature within Leicestershire and Rutland.


The land has been generously gifted by Michael Adler as a beautiful legacy to his son, James Adler, the second of his three sons, who sadly passed away at the age of 42.


Mr Adler said: "I had always intended to leave this land to James, but he died unexpectedly in May last year. Emotionally I was extremely attached to the land.

"For much of my early childhood I had lived with my grandparents in Great Bowden and had the free run over acres of land.

"In summer I loved getting up early and going with the family’s Shetland Collie to pick mushrooms and enjoy the quietness of my surroundings, punctuated only by the dawn chorus of many birds.


"James joined me on visits to the land on several occasions and was the obvious person to take over. With him gone it was clear that the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust should be approached to accept the land as a gift.


"James was CEO of Ashdown Forest in East Sussex. He loved his job and looked after a large area with a variety of habitats including heathland. From his pre-school days James was fascinated by nature.

"After University he volunteered for Surrey Wildlife Trust and was then employed first as an Assistant Ranger. He worked his way quickly through various jobs with The Trust to become Director of Land Management and later, Director of Biodiversity. He was also the National Land Management Adviser for The Wildlife Trusts.


"James was a natural alliance builder, who could communicate a vision and bring together people of the most diverse backgrounds and interests.

"He would have loved to have been responsible for the land at Great Bowden and it is most appropriate that the new Reserve is to be named after him."

James Adler stands in front of a hilly landscape at dusk
James Adler sadly passed away at the age of 42

The James Adler Reserve

The site that will become the James Adler nature reserve will undergo a transformation from pasture into a special place for nature, benefiting the lives of both people and wildlife.


Joe Davis, Head of Nature Reserves at the Trust, explains the value of the land: "There is great potential for wildlife habitat creation and increased biodiversity within this site.

"Part of the land lends itself to the creation of a wetland habitat, where the river Welland runs through it. Creating shallow pools and areas of standing water would encourage wildlife such as amphibians and dragonflies while helping with local flood alleviation.


"The land has exciting possibilities for both wildlife and people. We hope to plant woodland to improve biodiversity and capture carbon where the upper parts of the reserve offer greatest potential for woodland expansion.

"Initially we will be studying the land to see what the best options are and to make plans for the land’s future."


Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust is working with its local Great Bowden Group to develop future plans for the site and is encouraging the local community to get involved and help build a wilder future as part of the local area’s nature recovery strategy.


"We are extremely grateful to Michael Adler," says Mat Carter, CEO at the Trust. "The land is of immense importance as it not only allows us to work with local businesses and local community groups in an area where we previously had few nature reserves, it also brings us one step closer to our 2030 strategy of Bringing Nature Back by restoring nature in our two counties.


"Our nature reserves have increasingly become the last strongholds of wildlife habitat within Leicestershire and Rutland, so this generously gifted area of land will give us this opportunity to use it as another foundational building block towards nature’s recovery within South Leicestershire.

"It will offer more space for people to join and create relationships with nature in the heart of their community.


"Our vision is to transform the site into a new wildlife-rich nature reserve, in memory of James Adler, and we are inviting all the community to come together for its future within Leicestershire's landscape."


The river Welland meanders through the lower sections of the 20-hectare site and the land also includes a mixture of trees and scrub. It is sandwiched either side of the A6, where the main road splits the reserve into two distinct areas.

Situated in the village of Great Bowden near Market Harborough, Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust is encouraging anyone wishing to help develop the future of the James Adler Reserve to get in touch via email at


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