River of Life I

River of Life is a tranquil 2.5 km stretch of restored wetland habitat along the River Thames, featuring wet woodland, fen, reedbed, ponds and scrapes, backwaters and seasonally wet grassland and meadow.

Follow the main footpath heading east through Little Wittenham Wood, taking you through farmland towards the river; or start your visit from Shillingford Bridge Hotel.

What to see

This beautiful wetland habitat supports an array of wildlife, including fish fry, amphibians, birds and invertebrates, as well as contributing to flood amelioration. Yellowhammers, water voles, great crested newts, stag beetles, club-tailed dragonflies have all been spotted along with and a multitude of fish species.

River of Life links directly with Little Wittenham Wood (a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), providing a continuous area of high-quality wildlife habitat from the Thames basin up to the top of the Wittenham Clumps – an area covering 150ha.


In 2010 Earth Trust acquired 35 hectares of land next to the River Thames. As well as adding 2.5km of Thames frontage to the Earth Trust portfolio, this land provided a golden opportunity to create a unique wetland landscape.

Earth Trust and the Environment Agency formed a partnership to implement the project. The Environment Agency funded the majority of the landscaping work, with the rest generously donated by Earth Trust Friends and supporters. For more information about the project, visit the River of Life project page

In June 2014, River of Life was the joint winner of the Best Practice Award for Practical Nature Conservation at the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) Awards; it continues to be a fantastic demonstration site for successful wetland habitat creation.

Visitor Information

Visitor Information