Dorset Wild Rivers is a Wessex Water funded partnership project. The project focuses on Dorset’s priority rivers and aims to achieve the restoration of over 5km of river habitat and seven new wetland enhancement schemes. The project aims to engage with farmers in specific catchments to share knowledge and bring about lasting benefits to the ecology of the river habitat.

FWAG SouthWest, in partnership with Dorset Wildlife Trust, is hosting a full time adviser, Tim Bowden. With the support of other partners, Tim is delivering wetland enhancement projects on floodplain land in priority river catchments. This involves a range of work from adding value to wetland related HLS agreements, through to implementing one-off capital projects.

The Dorset Wild Rivers project can help farmers and landowners address riparian land management issues and identify opportunities for habitat restoration or creation, as well as delivering in-river habitat enhancements and water quality improvements. This can benefit both aquatic plants and animals and will deliver Water Framework Directive targets.

A number of priority species will also receive particular attention; including white clawed crayfish, water vole, otter, salmon and brown trout. This represents a collaborative approach to reducing the decline of wetland biodiversity.

The Dorset Wild Rivers project aims to talk to all landowners and river users in the target areas during the life of the project. Anyone managing land along target river corridors, with an interest in river and wetland habitats, or with specific knowledge, concerns or ideas for enhancements should contact Tim Bowden.

The Project Offers Support in the Following Areas:

  • Ditch restoration.
  • Restoring plant diversity to floodplain grassland.
  • Wetland features such as ponds and scrapes.
  • Water level management.
  • Applying for funding and any consents necessary for works to take place.

The Dorset Wild Rivers project focuses on chalk rivers, but also on related wetland habitats within target catchments of the Frome and Piddle valleys and Stour tributaries.

The prioity wetland habitats include:

  • Grazing marsh
  • Fen
  • Reedbed
  • Species rich grassland
  • Wet woodland habitats