The Nature Restorers: Flete Field Lab

DEF specialises in identifying the most innovative and impactful grassroots nature restoration projects in Devon, providing them with vital kick-start or scale-up funding to amplify their work.

‘The Nature Restorers’ series spotlights uplifting stories of grassroots nature restoration, showing the power of channelling funds to the local projects who are best-placed to restore nature in the places they love.

The first to feature is Flete Field Lab, a pioneering project trialling mycelium and biochar recipes to sequester carbon, enhance soil quality, and clean up river pollution via mycofiltration – aiming to identify replicable low-cost, low-tech solutions that empower landowners and communities to restore their local soil and river ecosystems.

In 2022, Flete Field Lab delivered the only successful mycofiltration trial in the UK, using mycelium-infused sacks placed in a leaky dam to clean toxins downstream of a sewage treatment plant. They saw a reduction in E. Coli of 47% as well as falls in the levels of chemical pollutants.

In 2023 the team is targetting phosphates and other agricultural pollutants in our rivers, hoping to discover new ways to remove nutrients from waterways to benefit wildlife and restore healthy and biodiverse ecosystems.

Biochar can increase crop yield and soil health, replacing chemical fertilisers, which in turn reduces agricultural run-off. Flete Field Lab is currently processing 400kg of charcoal into biochar, equivalent to approx. 1,200kg CO2 removed from the atmosphere.

Find out more about DEF’s Flete Field Lab project here. See the range of DEF’s grassroots nature restoration projects here.

You can support DEF to fund more brilliant nature restoration projects by spreading the word and/or donating here.

Together we can make even more good things happen for nature in Devon!

Special thanks to Olympus Power, Vivobarefoot, and Devon Community Foundation for their significant contributions in support of this groundbreaking project.