Historic floodplains to be restored on Oxfordshire-Wiltshire border


A series of floodplains on the Oxfordshire-Wiltshire border are set to be restored to create wetland habitat for wildlife.

A mosaic of ponds and wetlands are being created along the River Cole on the Coleshill estate which borders the two counties. The habitat will be about 1.4 ha in size. Birds and mammals, including Water Vole, are set to benefit from the restoration.

The project will see a range of endangered freshwater and wetland plants introduced to the stretch of the River Cole (Freshwater Habitats Trust).

The project is being run by the Freshwater Habitats Trust in partnership with the National Trust which owns the estate. Water quality and levels will be monitored by the Freshwater Habitats Trust to see how the site responds to the new habitats.

David Morris, of Freshwater Habitats Trust, said: "We'll also be closely tracking species, particularly rare wetland plants, which we hope will recolonise the historic floodplains, on which they once thrived. These new habitats will transform the site and we expect to see a much more diverse range of wetland wildlife here over the coming months and years."

The National Trust is planning to run guided walks on the restored floodplain area which is farmed and grazed by cattle on the estate's private land on the west Oxfordshire border.

Richard Watson, of the National Trust, said: "Our ultimate aim is to create a wildlife corridor along the river starting in Swindon to where the River Cole joins the Thames at Lechlade. This floodplain restoration work is a key step towards that goal."