Skip to main content

No results found

OX Mag banner ghhkia
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

l9Jk9ISA
Wed 1 Dec 2021

Also commemorating its 20th Anniversary this year, The National Memorial Arboretum was founded by Commander David Childs as ‘a place where people’s lives would be commemorated among living trees that would grow and mature in a ‘world at peace’’.  

Screen Shot 2021 11 04 at 11.33.35
Wed 1 Dec 2021

The festivities are nearly upon us. It’s a time for reunion, for sharing and for enjoying the simple pleasures of human existence. A time of reflection, connection, and celebration; reminding us all, of the joyous aspects of togetherness, ready for the year to come. Often though, this isn’t always the reality.

20211013 120809
Tue 23 Nov 2021

The final phase of work at The Mobility Store in Wroughton, has now been completed and the new division called Optimised Independence opened on the 5th of October.

EcoSmart Base Fire Pit from 1 995
Wed 10 Nov 2021

Bio Fires

Intelligent Fires

Since the age of man, fire has been a necessity In the modern era, it has become both a comfort and a luxury, and there is nothing more luxurious than a beautiful flickering flame in your home. Or in your garden. Our gardens have always wanted to be a part of the house, becoming that additional room to our homes; no more so than over the past 18 months.