THEY are there, of course, in their hundreds, thousands and millions, but the truth is, nobody can put figures anywhere near accurate to the burgeoning ranks of wildlife in one of our most rural valleys.

But that might be about to change, if local residents sign up to a new environmental project, Hidden Redesdale, in sufficient numbers.

Designed and managed, voluntarily, by the two naturalists behind the Wild Intrigue ecological consultancy, Cain Scrimgeour and Heather Devey, the project is ambitious in its scope.

“Redesdale has huge wildlife reserves, but they are massively under-recorded,” said Heather. “So it’s going to take a big community project to right that.”

There were few records available even for indicator species such as otters (only one sighting is recorded) and bats (just two are recorded and then of a single species), and a paltry eight sightings of moths had been noted.

“There’s not a single record relating to the badger across the whole of Redesdale,” she said.

“The result is that species present can’t be given the protection and conservation they require.”

Through the Hidden Redesdale project, local residents will have free access to the specialist training and equipment, provided by Heather and Cain, they will need to do the surveys.

Operating across five locations, in West Woodburn, Otterburn, Bellingham, Elsdon and Byrness, the information they unearth will then be logged with the environmental records information centre, ERIC North-East.

After the two launch events planned, in Bellingham Town Hall on April 26 and Otterburn Memorial Hall on April 27 (both an hour long and beginning at 7.30pm), folk will be able to pick and mix from learning how to set a camera ‘trap’, how to detect bats and how to catch moths.

No species are harmed in the making of this project, said Heather. “We trap the moths one evening and the very next morning we have the session identifying them.”

That mostly happens in August, the peak time for moth action. “It’s a good activity for families,” she added.

The bat walks they have planned, to teach the art of bat detection, will take place in July.

“We’ll be blogging and vlogging as we go, keeping people in touch with Hidden Redesdale and offering them support with their surveying,” she said.

“Social media will be an important element, because inclusivity is at the heart of this project.”

For those who would find it hard to take the time out or to travel to one of the hubs, there will be the option of joining in online, for there is valuable data to be harvested from gardens too.

Heather is passionate about creating fresh opportunities to help local residents forge stronger connections with their own environment. She believes in promoting the enchantment of nature as a means of conserving it, and therefore the more people who sign up the better. Outside of Wild Intrigue, she also works for the RSPB at Haweswater.

Cain, meanwhile, is a photographer and a lecturer in wildlife media for a Cumbria University degree course. He shares Heather’s passion for getting people out there, into nature and exploring.

The ultimate aim – to nurture a comprehensive understanding of our unique natural world.

Full project and contact details are listed on