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Back from the Brink was an ambitious partnership initiative to save some of our most threatened species from extinction and reverse their fortunes, putting them back on the road to recovery.  A coalition of seven of the UK’s leading wildlife charities, including Plantlife, came together with Natural England to deliver a suite of 19 conservation projects across England.  Plantlife led four of the projects – Colour in the Margins, Cornish Path Moss, Dorset’s Heathland Heart and Lesser Butterfly Orchid, and was a key partner in a further two – Ancients of the Future and Shifting Sands.

Pink trumpet like flower called Weasels snout.

Colour in the Margins

An extensive programme of 69 reintroductions of target arable plants was undertaken to establish new populations, trial new methodologies and develop best practice.

Moss on a rock

Cornish Path Moss

New areas of bare ground were created for Cornish Path Moss, which at the start of the project was only found at three sites in the world.


Dorset’s Heathland Heart

Over 400 patches of heathland microhabitat were created or restored at 13 sites across the Dorset Heaths to benefit 19 target species that are dependent on them including, Marsh Club-moss Lycipodiella inundata, Yellow Centaury Cicendia filiformis and Pale Dog Violet Viola Lactea.

White Lesser Butterfly Orchids.

Lesser Butterfly Orchid

Trial conservation management was carried out at nature reserves in Devon and Cornwall, design to increase populations of Lesser Butterfly-orchid .

Several stems of Yellowish white small flowers - \field wormwood

Shifting Sands

Habitat was restored at 12 key sites in the Breckland, Norfolk and Suffolk, including forest rides and bare ground plots for the rare plant species that thrive in the conditions there. Field Wormwood and Prostrate Perennial Knawel were introduced at nine sites throughout the area

Ancients of the Future

The life of over 200 important veteran trees was extended so they can continue to provide valuable habitat for years to come, whilst the newcomers mature.  Three threatened species of lichen were translocated and 40 trees were inoculated with a threatened species of fungi.

Project Partners

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Natural England (lead) and RSPB.


National Lottery Heritage Fund with support from the People’s Postcode Lottery

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