Skip to main content

No results found

Jet Flo Pro banner dv4fum
Living, Country, Knowledge, Curiosities

Conservation on the River Thame

The latest phase

divider
river thame 1 mmxqtl

This week I’ve been working alongside the River Thame Conservation Trust to restore some of the old river channels on an island, formed where the River Thame splits to feed an old mill; with the millstream and race on one side and the main river on the other.

The objective of this phase of the River Thame Conservation Trust’s project was to restore some old and create new shallow backwaters from the main river. These backwaters are really important to the wildlife of the river as this is where fish fry (baby fish) can grow in shallow warm water away from larger predatory fish. This was a three-day project and at the beginning of day three, there were already fry in the new channels.

There is a tendency to dig deep when creating ponds and channels, but without good reason, this is often a mistake. Wildlife likes varying depths of water and especially long shallow slopes into the deep water (referred to as drawdown zones) which are ideal for many species of plant and animal.

I used a drone – I’m a commercial drone pilot – to photograph the selected area beforehand, then produced maps showing ground levels and height differences to help select the perfect location for digging the channels. On completion we took photographs as a record of works; photos will then be taken annually from a fixed height and point (georeferenced) to monitor the site’s development.

Works within a floodplain and within 8m of a main river usually need permission from the Environment Agency. Generally when working on these kinds of sites, dug out spoil (soil etc.) must be removed from the site and off the floodplain – this is likely to significantly increase cost. However, if you have a watercourse within your land and you think the benefits for wildlife could be increased, it is worth having a chat with a local land management specialist who can point you in the direction of whether or not there is funding available for this type of conservation or habitat creation work.

James Gillies has many years of experience in managing and creating wildlife habitats. In 2018 he launched his hugely successful meadow project which created a patchwork of habitats across the UK, from Scotland to the South Coast. Water and wetlands (landscape with open water and wet ground) form one of James’ three pillars for wildlife enhancement, the other two are woodlands and wildflowers.

There is often funding available to either fully or partly fund conservation work on farms and managed land, through a myriad of schemes available: some government, some charity and some corporate. To discuss whether your project could be subject to a funding boost contact james@james-gillies.com

RECOMMENDED

QuI0IRLg
Tue 1 Mar 2022

You Will See The Doctor Now

Star of Social and Mainstream Media, Dr Nighat Arif

When we were brainstorming ground-breaking women to interview for this issue, I knew who was first on my list to approach. Meeting again over Zoom, I start by apologising for the fact that, when we met, I had no idea ‘who she was’ and thankfully, she laughed…  

C7oEh8no
Fri 1 Jul 2022

Summer is here and the beautiful Cotswold countryside is in full bloom, making our interiors envious. Few decorative styles can compete with the beauty of Mother Nature, so it is no surprise that the natural world is the most enduring subject of all time in interior design. 

Lavender
Fri 1 Jul 2022

Why not visit the Cotswold  Lavender  fields, close to the village of Snowshill. Bring a picnic, enjoy the beautiful fields and gain the true experience of the sight and fragrance of Cotswold Lavender

Butterfly
Fri 1 Jul 2022

Butterflies to Spot on a Summer Walk

Katy Dunn, National Trust

The first butterfly of the year is always a high point for me. It means it’s a sunny day for one, but more importantly, that the long, warm days of summer are on their way. It’s usually a Brimstone in March. A flash of dusty acid yellow flitting amongst the new buds in search of early nectar.