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(c) Dave Lamacraft

Plantlife Annual review

Plantlife is the international conservation charity working to secure a world rich in wild plants and fungi. We are the only UK membership charity dedicated to conserving wild plants and fungi in their natural habitats and helping people to enjoy and learn about them.

We work across all key plant ecosystems and habitats focussing on specific habitats and species depending on need. We promote the importance of all plants and fungi for a sustainable and healthy planet and, at present, have a particular focus in the UK on grasslands and temperate forests due to their acute vulnerability, and on at-risk species recovery. Founded in 1989, Plantlife now has 15,000 members and many more supporters.

Wild plants and fungi are the foundation of all life on Earth. Plantlife enhances, restores, protects and celebrates our natural heritage through working with landowners, other conservation organisations, public sector bodies, the private sector and the wider public. Through our work we connect people with nature so that everyone in society can enjoy and help protect the natural world around us. We collaborate and influence on the world stage to share our passion and achieve our goals.

Plantlife owns 23 nature reserves covering nearly 4,500 acres across England, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man. We carry out conservation and outreach work on our own land and in partnership with many others. We advise landowners and publish best practice guidance. We carry out research and gather data to inform government policy. We engage people of all ages and abilities in plant conservation and education and give everybody opportunities to enjoy wildflowers.

We work overseas by contributing to international conventions on climate and biodiversity and we are a registered COP Observer. Working with the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation we were instrumental in the creation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and the initiation of Important Plant Areas across the world – planning their conservation with government and community groups.

We are governed by a board of 12 trustees and have around 70 staff located across the UK. We also support a team of nearly 2,000 volunteers who work in the field, at events and in our offices.

A registered charity, Plantlife is funded by donations from its members and supporters, through grants and charitable trusts and through its pioneering land management advice and projects.

Marsh orchid
Cairngorms Alpine Fungi (c) Andrea Britton

Image credits: Header image - Dave Lamacraft, image 3 - Andrea Britton

David Hill CBE, Chairman

From the Chairman
David Hill CBE

What a difference a year makes! Reflecting on the period covered by this review, we have experienced the ongoing war in Ukraine, global financial markets in a volatile state and a winter of rising inflation, energy and food price hikes and the resultant cost of living pressures.

Our work at Plantlife contributes directly towards reversing climate change impacts and rebuilding ecosystem resilience and biodiversity.

And so we see constructive and meaningful environment policies being threatened as we try and secure some short-term solutions. That’s the problem with some current perceptions of nature – to protect it only when the going is good, the coffers are full and the people are happy would be a catastrophic mistake.

Although a hard thing to admit, the COVID-19 pandemic and severe financial pressures, whilst very painful at the moment, may appear insignificant if one takes a long view. Climate change and biodiversity loss are both existential threats that will diminish our futures forever unless we tackle them now.

Our work at Plantlife contributes directly towards reversing the impact of climate change and rebuilding ecosystem resilience and biodiversity. We have had a really successful year, winning funding for many new projects, partnering with other organisations to ensure that our money, influence and impact go further and working towards our new strategy with an almost completely new board of trustees. I would like to thank them, all our amazing staff, and you, our supporters, for your continued support. Working as one we can shift the dial on biodiversity recovery – nature is not a luxury, but is essential for our future. We know that, but we need to make sure those we vote for do too.

David Hill CBE, Chairman
Ian Dunn, CEO

From the CEO
Ian Dunn

The year in review continued to be a challenge as the nations of the UK emerged from the effects of COVID-19 in different ways and at different times. Our reserve management in England, Scotland and Wales needed a period of sustained catch-up and it’s a testament to our staff, partners and volunteers that we delivered most of them back to pristine condition. I was fortunate to visit Deep Dale in peak Cowslip and orchid season and to experience Ranscombe in all its summer vibrancy. Spending time in the Cairngorms and mid-Wales with our teams there reinforced the depth and quality of our people. It is on this foundation of expertise that we are able to build world class conservation programmes and to deliver on them.

It is on this foundation of expertise that we are able to build world class conservation programmes and to deliver on them.

It was a year in which we were awarded Observer status for COP26 and thereafter. By attending the major event in Glasgow, we were able to speak up for plants and, through the Grasslands+ coalition, facilitated hundreds of letters to Members of Parliament in advance of the conference. We were awarded charity film of the year as part of the temperate rainforest partnership, while No Mow May continued to blossom in the UK and went truly international in its reach. We were able to pick up the pace of work in documenting and promoting Important Plant Areas across the globe and completed the excellent Meadow Makers project in the UK with over 50 new wildflower meadow sites created and six youngsters supported in developing their conservation careers.

Our membership continued to grow and our finances with it, enabling us to widen the scope of our work and deliver applied conservation for a world rich in plants and fungi across the nations of the UK. We couldn’t do this without our individual and corporate members, along with a whole range of insightful funders mentioned in this report. Thank you to all.

Ian Dunn, CEO

Plantlife in numbers

  • 15,800
    acres of meadows created or restored
  • Almost £3m
    spent on conservation projects in 2021/22
  • 70%
    of local authorities and their contractors now implementing advice in Plantlife’s The Good Verge Guide
  • 23
    Plantlife reserves across the UK, covering 4,500 acres and 3,495 plant species
  • 2,336
    Important Plant Areas (IPAs) identified in 34 countries, with 165 in the UK. 17 plants found in IPAs grow nowhere else in the world
  • 1,954 strong
    team of volunteers supported in the field, at events and in our offices
Bluebells on mountainside - Isobel Hall
Fiveheads RA survey (c) Plantlife
  • More than 4,000
    people took part in online learning activities in 2021/22
  • 15,000
    members and supporters
  • 25%
    increase in membership in 2021/22

Image credits: Image 2 - Isobel Hall

Our work

Underpinning the health of our environment, wild plants and fungi are the foundation upon which we can help resolve the climate, ecological and societal challenges we face. Our work spans four strategic areas:

Protect and restorethe diversity of wild plants and fungi to enhance our countryside, towns and cities.

We work across the UK’s grasslands, mountains, woodlands, coasts, heathlands, arable farmland and peatlands to ensure our more common plant species do not become at risk.

We do this by protecting scarce and important species and habitats, such as hay meadows, chalk grassland, limestone pavement, grassland and blanket bog, and by advancing conservation initiatives and best practice so that plants and fungi everywhere can thrive.

You can read more about our protect and restore projects, which include a Juniper restoration initiative and conservation work in the Brecklands, Burnham Beeches and Braunton Burrows, in these case studies.

Volunteers working alongside Plantlife to monitor populations of target plants in the Brecklands recorded two significant finds during 2021/22 after discovering rare species at two new sites.

Read the full story

More than 400 hectares of species-rich grassland has been restored thanks to a hugely successful initiative which has engaged more than 12,000 people in vital work to protect valuable meadows across England.

Read the full story

Together with partners, we have helped to transform the fortunes of some of England’s most threatened wild plants, fungi and animals by increasing their numbers and placing them firmly back on the road to recovery.

Read the full story

Our vast and vital Munsary Peatlands Reserve in Caithness has continued to thrive this year with the discovery of record numbers of one of the UK’s most threatened plants.

Read the full story

The ambition of linking nature-rich hotspots which have been isolated by urban development took a step closer to becoming a reality during 2021/22 thanks to extensive research carried out by Plantlife and our partners.

Read the full story

Plantlife continued to influence conservation efforts on the national stage during 2021/22 after presenting the findings from a trial designed to safeguard species-rich grassland to the UK Government.

Read the full story

An ambitious project designed to prevent native Juniper from becoming extinct launched during 2021/22 when Plantlife joined forces with landowners, supported by Natural England, to revitalise the shrub.

Read the full story

Rare plant species are gradually starting to reappear in some of the UK’s most threatened habitats thanks to a pioneering partnership project which aims to conserve sand dunes across England and Wales.

Read the full story

Connect people with natureto improve wellbeing and inspire action to save species and their habitats.

We help people to achieve their goals for the natural world by fostering sparks of fascination and empowering communities to care for and protect the rich and varied environment around them. Our aim is to inspire an increasingly large and diverse audience to work with us to make a difference so that everywhere from stretches of golden sand to swathes of ancient woodland can be protected for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Our initiatives to connect people with their surroundings include projects to celebrate and protect green spaces in Bridgend, work on our nature reserves and our Magnificent Meadows Cymru partnership.

Our Green Links initiative is helping deepen the connection between communities and local green spaces for the benefit of both people and plants.

Read the full story

Our work with partners is successfully connecting people to Wales’ spectacular wildflower meadows while restoring these species-rich grasslands for the future.

Read the full story

The importance of our restoring and protecting the valuable wild plant habitats found in our nature reserves has been given additional focus this year.

Read the full story

The combined impact of 16 years of conservation management led to noticeable improvements at Ranscombe during 2021/22, with several threatened species recording their best ever years.

Read the full story

A long-running campaign which aims to transform our road verges into diverse wildlife havens by cutting less and cutting later has continued to pick up pace following the launch of a dedicated website.

Read the full story

Vital patches of species-rich grassland could be given greater protection against future development thanks to a successful citizen science project to map beautiful and highly-coloured waxcap fungi.

Read the full story

We are passionate about inspiring our supporters and the public to care for the precious natural habitats around them and arrange a variety of activities each year to give people the opportunity to get involved.

Read the full story

Work in partnershipsso that all people and all sectors of society can contribute to tackling the climate and nature crisis we face.

We are convinced that the complexity and urgency of the challenges our world faces can only be successfully addressed through partnership working. By using our skills and knowledge to accelerate plant and fungi conservation and collaborating with others over the next decade, we aim to harness the interest, ability and resources needed to drive positive change at speed.

We carried out a range of projects to help us progress this work during the year, including an extensive mapping initiative alongside volunteers in the Cairngorms and a ground-breaking nature recovery scheme at Bunloit in Scotland.

A grassland programme championed by Plantlife and its partners received the royal seal of approval during 2021/22 when it was selected for inclusion in a high-profile report backed by The former Prince of Wales.

Read the full story

The second year of the four-year Rare Plants and Wild Connections Project saw the coming together of mountain enthusiasts and cutting-edge science for the first time to help save rare mountain ecosystems.

Read the full story

The past 12 months have seen Plantlife work alongside Highlands Rewilding to play a key role in a ground-breaking nature recovery initiative which aims to create a network of biodiverse land across Scotland.

Read the full story

Together with our partners, we now have a better understanding of the action needed to safeguard some of our rarest and most threatened lichens and bryophytes.

Read the full story

Plantlife continued to lead the call for government action to tackle air pollution during 2021/22 due to the significant threat posed to our wild plants, lichens, fungi and their habitats.

Read the full story

Image credits: Header image - Alison Smith

Collaborate and influence on the world stageto empower societies across the globe to help protect plants and fungi.

Alongside our partners, we make sure that global strategies for nature, people and the climate include the restoration of native plant species and habitats so that we can ensure a healthy, plant-rich world in the future.

We work to make specialist knowledge, expertise and practical resources available for effective conservation action, and to campaign for an end to activities which threaten and destroy wild plant species and habitats.

This vital agenda has been supported during the year by our partnership work to save Scotland’s rainforests, as well as a project to set up a Global Important Plant Area Network to identify, protect and restore valuable habitats for wild plant and fungal diversity.

We continued to fly the flag for global action during the year after launching a collaborative campaign to place the conservation of wild plants and fungi at the heart of global biodiversity agreements.

Read the full story

Together with Woodland Trust Scotland, Plantlife relaunched the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest (ASR) to unite the efforts of each organisation working to save the habitat and increase the project’s impact.

Read the full story

Image credits: Header image - Anna Asatryan

Funding our work

Our ability to secure a world rich in plants and fungi is dependent on the generosity of grant givers, companies, institutions, individuals and thousands of our members. We continue to be inspired by the commitment and passion shown by so many in supporting our work.

Members focus

Plantlife members continue to provide the funding that underpins so much of our work and we are delighted that more people than ever decided to join us during the year, growing our membership by 27%. It is indisputable that iconic plants and fungi are fundamental to the health of our environment, to how we mitigate and adapt to climate change and to our own wellbeing. We are also pleased to see a growing number of family members joining, helping us to reach the next generation of conservationists.

Spotlight on corporate giving

Our corporate partnerships have continued to grow this year. We now have four corporate patrons and 24 corporate members of Plantlife, as well as many other bespoke individual relationships. We remain dedicated to partnerships, and are working with our corporate partners to both help them meet their biodiversity goals and to support our wider work.

We were delighted that one of our corporate patrons, Formula Botanica, were able to continue their long-term support of our Juniper restoration project, providing £15,000 this year to help us continue this vital species recovery programme.

Formula Botanica has proudly supported Plantlife since 2014, because we want to help conserve wild plants and wild places. We are very grateful to Plantlife for undertaking such important work to raise the profile of plants, whilst celebrating their beauty and protecting their future. We encourage everyone to join us in supporting Plantlife so we can all secure a world rich in wild plants and fungi.

Lorraine Dallmeier, Formula Botanica CEO

Conserving the future

We were delighted and privileged to receive gifts in wills worth over £700,000 in the year, providing vital funding to realise a number of our ambitions. Gifts left in wills to Plantlife enable us to have an ever-growing positive impact on the natural world around us. We are so thankful for those that chose to support our work in this way.

Connecting people with nature

A connection to nature was vital to so many of us as we coped with the worry and uncertainty of the pandemic. It is heartening that so many people chose to retain that connection as we returned to busy lives. Having added a raft of digital conservation volunteering opportunities during the pandemic, we were delighted to be awarded nearly £100k from Digital Skills for Heritage (distributed by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport). This will enable us to develop Virtual Volunteering Virtually Everywhere so that anybody - regardless of their physical ability, location or other commitments – can play a role in protecting and restoring our vital plants, fungi and natural spaces.

If you would like to know more about how you can support Plantlife and help us to continue our vital work for plants and fungi please contact Vickie Wood at vickie.wood@plantlife.org.uk or call our office on 01722 342730.


We would like to thank everyone that funds our work in different ways and acknowledge those listed below for their support during 2021/22.

Grant funders

  • Association of Deer Management Groups
  • Cairngorms National Park Authority
  • City of London Corporation
  • Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs
  • EU LIFE Programme
  • Highland and Island Environment Foundation
  • John Muir Trust
  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee
  • Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
  • National Lottery Community Fund People & Places Wales Revenue Grants
  • National Lottery Heritage Fund
  • Natural England
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • NatureScot
  • Reforesting Scotland
  • RSPB
  • Scottish Environment LINK
  • Scottish Land and Estates
  • The Welsh Government
  • The Woodland Trust
  • Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment and Grundon Waste Management Ltd

Charitable trusts and foundations

  • Craignish Trust
  • D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust
  • Emily Weircroft Charitable Trust
  • Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
  • Frognal Trust
  • Harbinson Charitable Trust
  • Hugh Fraser Charitable Foundation
  • Ian Addison Charitable Foundation
  • John and Shenagh Norman Charitable Trust
  • Lady Yuen Peng McNeice Charitable Foundation
  • Lord O'Neill Charitable Trust
  • Mrs M A Lascelles
  • Mrs R P Allen's Charitable Trust
  • Neil & Pauline Pettefar Trust
  • Nineveh Trust
  • Norman and Evelyn Proffitt Trust
  • Oakdale Trust
  • Orchard Community Energy
  • Orr Mackintosh Foundation (share gift)
  • Peter and Olive Ward Charitable Trust
  • Rees Jeffreys Road Fund
  • Samuel Storey Family Charitable Trust
  • Scott (Eredine) Charitable Trust
  • Tay Charitable Trust
  • The Daniell Trust
  • The Lawson Trust
  • The Waterloo Foundation
  • Wyfold Charitable Trust

Corporate partners and supporters

  • Black Bee Honey Ltd
  • Bramley Products Ltd
  • Brecks Farmers Wildlife Network
  • Broadstone Holdco Ltd
  • Ground Control Ltd
  • Herb & Hedgerow Ltd
  • Laurent-Perrier (UK) Ltd
  • Maidstone Distillery Ltd
  • Meadows Honey Ltd
  • Vina Concha y Toro S.A.


  • Sally Rankin
  • Lyon Family Charitable Trust
  • Barbara Barker

Legacy gifts

We are once again highly thankful to everyone who remembered Plantlife in their will.

(c) Dave Lamacraft
Garlic Waxcap Hygrocybe helobia Llwynyrhwrdd cemetery (c) Lucia Chmurova

Image credits: Image 1 - Dave Lamacraft, image 2 - Lucia Chmurova

How we spent your money


In 2021/22 we maintained our income level despite a difficult year externally. We saw increases in income generated by conservation activities, membership and donations, reinforcing the growing recognition of the importance of our work for plants and nature conservation. Legacy income was lower than the previous year but is variable by its nature. We are extremely grateful for everyone that contributed to help secure a world rich in plants and fungi.

Violet Coral Fungus (c) Dave Lamacraft
Total income£4.5m
Donations and legacies£1.4m(31%)
Conservation activities£2.3m(51%)
Membership income£0.7m(16%)
Investment income£0.1m(2%)


The majority of our expenditure is always targeted directly on our conservation work. We increased our year on year spend on conservation activities across a diverse range of projects; from meadows in England and Wales, dunes to rainforest and working on threatened species. We also increased education and engagement activities including campaigning against peat extraction, nitrogen pollution and promoting grasslands.

We made strategic investments in growing our membership base through increased spend on fundraising and this has already seen membership grow by 27%. We also invested in developing robust support systems to ensure all administrative requirements are met as we implement our strategy to 2030. Our income performance and tight cost management enabled us to increase our unrestricted reserve; funds set aside to enhance our impact in future years whilst maintaining cash according to our reserves policy.

Thank you to everyone who contributed during a challenging year as we came out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Greater Stitchwort
Total expenditure£4.3m
Conservation activities£2.98m(69%)
People engagement, education and membership£0.86m(20%)
Investment management costs£0.02m(0.5%)

For every £1 we spent,

89p went on conservation and making change happen

11p was spent on fundraising and governance


For every £1 invested in fundraising,

we raised £9.78


Image credits: Image 1 - Dave Lamacraft

Plantlife is the international conservation charity working to secure a world rich in wild plants and fungi. It is funded by donations from its members and supporters, through grants and charitable trusts and through its pioneering land management advice and projects: www.plantlife.org.uk

For further information about Plantlife’s work, please contact: enquiries@plantlife.org.uk

Image credits: Background image - Dave Lamacraft