Nature First in Smeeton Westerby

Over the last month walking down Debdale Lane and across the fields in Smeeton Westerby you may have seen what looks like destruction to our fields.

What is actually happening is a project designed to restore and improve the Langton Brook and its floodplain for wildlife and the local community, putting Nature First.

Working with Harborough Woodland

This all started with the desire to plant more trees and is three years in the making. As landowners with a public walkway through our largest field, our initial idea was to work with Harborough Woodland to increase our wood to triple tree coverage, support biodiversity, and provide an area for locals to enjoy.

What quickly became apparent was that we had the opportunity to do much more, by teaming up with our neighbouring landowners, to restore a stretch of Langton Brook.

And East Mercia Rivers Trust

Five landowners have been working together in partnership with East Mercia Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency to bring this project to fruition.

There have been countless meetings, lobbying for funding, and moments where we honestly thought it might not happen.

Excitingly the project commenced this October! The main aim is to increase biodiversity and reduce flooding, as well as create a new woodland for locals.

We plan to plant approx 1000 native trees, reinstate two relic meanders, create wetland habitat through the excavation of new shallow channels, ponds and scrapes, and raise the riverbed in the currently over-deep brook.

We need more trees

We’re surrounded by beautiful countryside in Kibworth and Smeeton. But, you only need to look on Google Earth to see the low tree coverage in our area.

The Harborough District area has a mere 4% tree coverage, and Leicestershire’s most prevalent tree species is Ash with 90% predicted to be felled in five to fifteen years due to Ash dieback disease. There’s never been a more important time for this project!

A large section of the project has public access, so we would love the local community to get involved and contribute to improving biodiversity in our area.

We will need Volunteers!

When we’re ready to plant trees, we plan to invite the local Brownies and Scouts down, and we’ll need more volunteers to help. If you’d like to volunteer your time, please email Charlotte Bates at

If you would like to read more detail on the project, please visit Harborough Planning website and search 23/01001/FUL, or visit East Mercia Rivers Trust social media or website

Charlotte Bates