What is The WILD Project, Phase 2?

The WILD (Water with Integrated Local Delivery) projects use the valuable knowledge, experience and commitment of local communities to protect and enhance their local natural assets. We aim to re-empower local communities to who live and work in rural areas and most importantly, have the capacity to assist in the management and governance of the landscape. WILD also aims to improve water quality and biodiversity in order to meet the demands of EU legislation.

WILD 2 is the second phase of the WILD project that started in 2013. Phase 1 of the project was completed in March 2016 with 280 farm visits, 16 parishes engaged, 300km of ditches surveyed and 5 km of river enhancement works completed alongside grants secured totalling £242,000.


The WILD project is a partnership of primarily four organisations working together to bring about environmental improvements to the rivers and other watercourses of the Cotswold Water Park. The partnership is led by Gloucestershire Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) and includes Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (GRCC), Cotswold Water Park Trust (CWPT) and the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) at the University of Gloucestershire. Project Officers engage with local communities and landowners to encourage them to get directly involved in understanding local watercourses and their management. With ongoing local community input, we will be continuing to develop and deliver plans for enhancements.

Funding has been secured from the Thames Water Community Investment Scheme to enable the WILD approach to be extended upstream along the Churn through Cirencester and the Coln at Fairford. Following the WILD approach, we will be working with communities and landowners to identify water-related issues, carry out habitat restoration and promote volunteering opportunities. This project aims to not only improve water quality but to identify and install measures to help to control flow and increase water storage capacity along the River Churn upstream of and through Cirencester. We will be working with wider partners throughout the project including working closely with Cirencester Town Council, Fairford Town Council, Cotswold District Council and numerous voluntary organisations working to improve their local watercourses. There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved, including; volunteer work parties, training events, guided walks, school visits, and community mapping. These activities will help to inform us where the water-related issues are in your local area.

To find out more about the Integrated Local Delivery, click here.

FWAG SW has engaged the wider Upper Thames partnership, with the continuing focus being on reducing sewage surcharging into rivers caused by flooding into the sewage system. Partners engaged include the Gloucestershire County Council, Cotswold District Council whose local plan was out for consultation which included a response from the WILD project team; Thames Water Asset Management Team; Thames Water Pesticides team; Highways; Natural England; Rural Payments Agency, Cotswold Water Park Trust, Gloucestershire Rural Community Council, Countryside and Community Research Institute, the Environment Agency, the National Farmers’ Union and Forestry Commission.

The Community Guide to the Water Environment has been produced, along with ditch management guidance for the Upper Thames to help increase awareness about missconnections with the communities and the need to get water off roads into the wider natural environment to improve water quality, reduce flood risk and enable sustainable growth.

For a downloadable version of “A Community Guide to Your Water Environment”, please click here.



Ecosystems Knowledge Webinar

Opportunities for involving local communities in managing their environment and place-making. Recorded July 2018.

As revised planning policy emerges, and preparations are made in England for the 2019 Year of Green Action, we need to put local communities more at the centre of decisions about their environment. Helping communities to understand their local assets and make the most of these is central to the challenge of forming more places where people want to live, work and spend time.

This webinar features two examples of work to build the capacity of local communities to manage places - and the wider environment - in ways that make them resilient, healthy and prosperous. We hear from Jenny Phelps of Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group about how the Integrated Local Delivery approach uses the detailed knowledge of farmers and local residents to identify environmental concerns and find joined-up ways of meeting multiple objectives. We also hear from Paul Cobbing of the National Flood Forum on the work that local flood groups are doing to develop natural flood management methods in partnership with flood authorities and local landowners.

The webinar aimed to stimulate discussion of opportunities for the public, private and third sector to play their part in connecting people, place and environment in 2019 and beyond. Exploring how local community action can be a catalyst for mobilising resources to deliver environmental and social benefits in the context of the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan.

You can listen to the webinar by clicking here.


Volunteers work on a the restoration of a historic pond


For any questions regarding WILD 2, please contact FWAG SW (Gloucestershire team) on 01666 503668.

Our partners for the WILD 2 project are Cotswold Water Park Trust, Gloucestershire Rural Community Council, Countryside and Communities Research Institute, the Environment Agency and the National Farmers’ Union

This project has been generously funded by Thames Water and the Environment Agency


WILD 2 Newsletters





Useful Links

A full version of the WILD Works clip can be found by clicking here.