Ecological Surveys underway for River of Life II project

Earlier this year we announced that we were receiving a Water Environment Grant, through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, for an exciting new partnership project to revive and create natural riverside wetland systems and increase biodiversity. The project will also see new ponds developed at Little Wittenham Woods which will provide much needed habitat space for a rare and growing population of Great Crested Newts.

Work is well underway already with important trial trenching having started in early July which involves an excavator digging a series of 2m wide trenches between 20m and 50m long and 1m to 1.5m deep. The trenches will then be cleaned by hand, photographed and recorded by a team of archaeologists from DigVentures, before being re-instated. Trial trenching means that we can gain a good understanding of the nature, location and significance of any buried archaeology within the landscape.

DigVentures have also been working closely with us on Gateway, carrying out archaeological investigations on the sites where the new Earth Lab building will go up, and have already carried out archaeological digs to inform planning for the Earth Lab. The findings, both on the Earth Trust site and further afield where the wetlands are being formed, will produce rich and interesting information on how the land was lived on and used, and provide valuable context for the Gateway project, linking past with present in a meaningful way.

In addition to this exciting phase, last week we hosted a site visit with SODC Planning Officer David Millinship and Ecologist Dr Dominic Lamb to further advance design discussions on how the project will benefit both the environment and the people that use these wonderful green spaces.

We are working in partnership with Church Farm Partnership and Hurst Water Meadow Trust and anticipate construction to begin in Spring 2020.

Rebecca Chiazzese, Project Manager from partner Hydro-Logic says:

The project is an excellent example of how when creating partnerships with like-minded organisations, we can work together to create long lasting environmental change which also benefits society.