Changes in land management and river engineering have a big impact on our wildlife and biodiversity. Natural flood meadow habitat is rare in the Evenlode Catchment due to past dredging activities whilst weirs and other barriers block the passage of fish and reduce their access to spawning grounds.
Catchment based approaches to land management have considerable potential to produce effective actions on the ground and deliver a range of ecosystem services. Such actions rely on different stakeholders engaging together to incorporate different values and benefits in decision making processes. In the Evenlode catchment we have the potential for multiple scales of value being delivered through projects, and seek to achieve active engagement at different points and with very different groups of stakeholders. We aim to deliver projects that will enhance biodiversity and improve the habitat and ecology of our rivers.
'Stage Zero' - Dorn Restoration
This project involves using a series of natural barriers to control the flow of the River Dorn, in much the same way beavers would have done in the past. These natural barriers and scrapes are enabling a rewilding of the landscape by returning the river to the way it would have looked before human interference.
It has been a collaborative project bringing together partners including Atkins, Thames Water, The Environment Agency, and the ECP, as well as the Blenheim Estate. As well as helping to prevent flooding further downstream, the restoration work is also improving the habitat for wildlife.
North East Cotswolds Farm Cluster
The farmer cluster aims to grow an inclusive and pro-active group of local farmers, landowners, and advisors who work together to deliver benefits for soil, water, & wildlife as well as building more resilient food and farming businesses.
The cluster regularly meets for knowledge sharing discussions and other events.
Wetland Complex, Magpie Farm
A complex of wetland habitats have been created on Magpie Farm which is situated in the upper reaches of the Evenlode Catchment.
The project aims to deliver multiple benefits including phosphorous reduction, increasing biodiversity, and providing recreation opportunities as well as being an effective natural flood management measure.
The landowner, Atkins, Natural England, Thames Water, and the Evenlode Catchment Partnership worked in partnership together to ensure the delivery of these multiple benefits.
One of the best forms of engagement available to us is through the active promotion of demonstration sites, and the hosting of meetings and events when organisations and individuals can view past and current projects. We are fortunate to have several partner organisations who help facilitate this, including FarmED which is situated on Honeydale Farm.
This multiple-benefit scheme has been delivered by a number of partners: the Cotswold Rivers Trust, Cotswold Seeds and Windrush AEC Ltd. It is a useful local focal point to promote thinking about the benefits, costs and likely issues of revised land management.