About Us

About Us

Our Heritage

Durham Wildlife Trust is a charity and was established in 1971, originally as the Durham County Conservation Trust, becoming Durham Wildlife Trust in 1988. The Trust operates across the area of the old County Durham, which today includes Darlington, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Durham Wildlife Trust is part of the federation of 46 charities across the U.K. that together form the Wildlife Trusts. Recognised by their badger logo, each individual Wildlife Trust is an independent organisation conserving wildlife in its local area. The Trusts are membership organisations with a strong volunteering tradition. Each Trust was originally founded by dedicated volunteers with a passion to conserve their local wildlife. Acting locally and making a difference nationally.

Nature Reserves

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Durham Wildlife Trust manages 37 nature reserves between the Tees and the Tyne. From ancient woodland and heathland to meadows, wetlands and more, the Trust has saved some of the North East’s most special places from destruction.

Today Durham Wildlife Trust continues to acquire new reserves, helping nature to recover across the landscape and bringing wildlife into the heart of our towns and cities.

Visitor Centres

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Relax and unwind at one of Durham Wildlife Trust’s visitor centres. Enjoy Rainton Meadows with its award-winning WildPlay area and 74 hectares of ponds, woodlands and grasslands to explore or experience the tranquility at Low Barns on the banks of the River Wear. 

Both visitor centres are open 7 days a week and have on site cafes, with room hire available for everything from a children’s birthday party to business meeting.

Meeting Rooms       Children's Parties

More than 8000 members

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Durham Wildlife Trust relies on the support of its members. Contributions from membership enable the Trust to manage nature reserves where wildlife can thrive and acquire more land to restore nature across the landscape. 

Thanks to its members Durham Wildlife Trust is able to deliver projects to save threatened and endangered species and deliver education sessions for thousands of children and adults every year. 

From climate change to development pressure, our natural environment is under greater threat than ever before. With your support Durham Wildlife Trust can help wildlife overcome these challenges. Please support Durham Wildlife Trust to act locally but make a difference globally – join Durham Wildlife Trust today.


250+ volunteers

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Last year Durham Wildlife Trust’s volunteers contributed over 36,000 hours of their time to support the Trust’s work. Volunteers are at the heart of everything the Trust does, from a Task Force volunteer supporting the management of reserves to a Trustee overseeing how the charity is run. Durham Wildlife Trust is always looking for willing volunteers who want to make a difference for people and wildlife.

Activities for all ages

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Durham Wildlife Trust runs a packed programme of events and activities for all ages, from Wild Yoga and Family Fun Days to Reserve Rambles and wildlife talks. The Trust involves thousands of adults and children in the nature conservation effort every year. By working with schools and local communities to connect people with their local wildlife the Trust is raising awareness and increasing appreciation of the natural world.

Training opportunities

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Members have access to Durham Wildlife Trust’s training programme. Courses range from wildlife survey and identification to practical nature conservation skills. Training sessions provide an opportunity to meet with other members and volunteers and are designed to help you build your skills, knowledge and appreciation of nature.

Our History

When Durham Wildlife Trust was established the county of Durham extended from the rivers Tees to Tyne across an area administered by Durham County Council. Subsequent local government reorganisation reduced the area of County Durham and created Tyne and Wear and Cleveland. As a result, Durham Wildlife Trust today covers County Durham, the southern boroughs of Tyne and Wear – Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland – and Darlington. In 2015, to clarify the geographical area of operations of the Trust, the phrase 'From Tees to Tyne' was added to the Durham Wildlife Trust logo.

As a small, local charity we rely on the support of our members. Membership enables us to manage our nature reserves, run conservation projects, deliver environmental education activities and provide thousands of volunteering opportunities each year.

Across County Durham, Darlington, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland no one is working harder to protect our wildlife for future generations.

Going Greener

Find out how we're taking steps to tackle the climate emergency by looking at our own carbon footprint, sharing our learnings with other businesses and working with partner organisations across the North East.

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