grass and hills

Human Nature Relations

Human Nature Relations (Theme Lead: Chris Loynes)

The engagement of people with nature produces a landscape. Personal, social, economic and political actions interact with natural processes, habitats and species in dynamic relations. This theme will take as its subject these relations. Using a critical view, the political processes and their consequences, the natural processes and their consequences, will be examined with the intention of understanding and informing the informal and formal processes of engagement in ways that contribute to social justice and sustainable human nature relations.

Wildflowers meadow surrounded by hills.

Landscapes for Nature Recovery 

National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and landscape scale projects throughout the UK are increasingly considering how they can contribute to nature recovery. Following Government commitments to 30% of our land to be designated for nature recovery by 2030, new strategies and ambition have been injected into programmes that work with landowners, build partnerships across large areas, reintroduce species, restore and expand key habitats, argue for resources, enhance the rural economy and engage local communities and visitors in our future nature. Leadership may involve developing exemplar and best practices that can provide a much-needed core of land for nature that inspires and integrates within and beyond protected landscapes.

CNPPA and event partners organised a public webinar and online conference to explore how best to bring about nature recovery in protected landscapes. Over 70 conference participants shared their experience, knowledge and explored the issues together across over 20 themes. The results have been better networks, new ideas and enhanced motivation to move forward. A report will be produced soon to inform policy and decision makers.

Recordings are available on the CNPPA You Tube channel, here.

Partners: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Nature North, Lake District National Park Partnership

Contact:  Professor Chris Loynes 

Photo credit: David Morris / RSPB

PhD Student Working with Our Upland Commons Project

The University of Cumbria is a partner in the 'Our Upland Commons' multi-million-pound project aiming to preserve the country’s common land which has been made possible thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

PhD Student Hannah Field gained a studentship to work alongside the project, supervised by Dr Claire Holt, Dr Jane Barker and Dr Darrell Smith.

Hannah is working with commons in Cumbria, Shropshire and Dartmoor, building an in-depth picture of each common and the commoning practices. Interviews and information will be collected to understand the multiple stories in the commons and how they interact, how information is shared and how decisions are made.

Dr Julia Aglionby, Professor in Practice here at CNPPA, is Executive Director of the Foundation for Common Land which is leading the Our Upland Commons project.

Partners:  Foundation for Common Land

Funders:  National Lottery Hertiage Fund

Contacts: (this project); (general research enquiries)


Sapling growing from a book suspended in a nature scene
Sapling growing from a book suspended in a nature scene

A Moss of Many Layers: Arts-based Public Engagement with Climate Change

CNPPA have won a NERC bid to explore bringing arts and sciences together to engage local communities with a changing landscape. The newly extended National Nature Reserve, Bolton Fell and Walton Moss, was previously a peat extraction site and is under restoration to a healthy peatland carbon store. The project will improve understanding of climate change mitigation in the context of peatland restoration and carbon sequestration, adopting a multifaceted arts approach to community engagement. It will co-produce a science-informed, artist-inspired and community-led narrative of peatland restoration and its contribution to local and wider society.

This project aims to co-create a new narrative that kindles community pride in BFWM’s natural value and as a carbon store for climate mitigation, and to engender a legacy of engagement and care that values this peatland habitat, biodiversity and landscape.

Partners: Natural England, PLACE Collective

Inclusivity in the Outdoors

The webinar series provides an opportunity for the UK Outdoor Sector to explore a range of themes around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in the outdoors. This collaborative initiative is an opportunity for the outdoor field to learn about EDI issues in the field, benchmark the current situation and scope for case studies of good practice that can help to take the field forward. This is phase one of a long term project that intends to develop an action plan for the sector and encourage and support both outdoor providers and existing and potential user groups to address the issues.


Partners: Institute for Outdoor Learning; Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres; Mosaic Outdoors; The Outward Bound Trust.


Find out more


Children in a playground
English village in summertime

Rewilding on the urban fringe: challenges and opportunities

What could be the natural and social benefits of rewilding landscapes on an urban fringe? The University of Cumbria is a partner in the Natural Capital Lab established by the Lifescape Project in the Highlands.

With the help of remote sensing approaches provided by AECOM, the project aims to gain a fuller understanding of the rewilding process, and the ecological and social benefits. This webinar introduces this project and asks what could be learned from a NC Lab on an urban fringe? With Prof Ian Convery (CNPPA), Roger Leese (Lifescape Project), Dr Jamie McPhie (CNPPA) & Chris White (AECOM).


Watch now


Connection with nature in the UK during the COVID19 lockdown

A recent study in the summer fo 2020 explored the experiences people had of nature during the UK COVID-19 lockdown and the associated changes in attitudes to nature, nature connection and pro-environmental behaviours.


Read the report


Leaves in a heart shape
Community members on a walk

Developing practitioner-researcher partnerships

Developing practitioner-researcher partnerships to enhance evidence-based practice in outdoor learning

The project supported the development of a network of regional hubs for applied and action research in outdoor learning. The purpose was to build partnerships that built confidence in undertaking research, supported the identification of research priorities at a local level and encouraged evidenced-based practice.

Funder: Institute for Outdoor Learning

Partners: Institute for Outdoor Learning, The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, Natural England

Please contact:


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