River of Life II

River of Life II is a beautiful wetland habitat along the River Thames and River Thame, restored by Earth Trust and partners in 2022.  Follow our walking route to explore the 16 ponds, seven backwater channels and 1.6 hectares of wet woodland.

What to see

River of life II includes ponds, wet woodland, meadows and backwater channels. Keep an eye out for tufted ducks, herons, kingfishers, geese, kestrels and even otters. 

Magical meadows 

Boasting flashes of colour and sweet smells, our wildflower meadows are home to up to an amazing array of plant species and support a complex web of invertebrates (from the soil to the tips of the tallest flowers), mammals, birds, fungi and a host of other wildlife. Find out more

Life in the slow lane 

The backwater channels we’ve created provide a number of benefits such as shelter for fish, including fry (young fish) and eels, during times of high flows and flood; good spawning opportunities; and sanctuary for fish from potential predators. The shallow waters warm up quickly in spring, giving fry an improved survival rate so they have a better chance of reaching adulthood. Find out more 


River of Life ll was constructed in 2021, in partnership with Church Farm Partnership and The Hurst Water Meadow Trust, as a demonstration of what can be done to improve stretches of a canalised river.   Covering an area 46,000m2 (the size of 6 football pitchces) it is the largest wetland habitat creation of its kind – on the banks of the River Thames and Thame.  

With its large ponds and backwaters, the new habitats keeps ecosystems healthy and functioning by attracting a diversity of species, improves water quality by the slowing and filtration of the water flowing back to the river, captures and store carbon from the atmosphere and also acts as a natural flood defence by absorbing water. One of the four project locations is within an SSSI and SAC and constructs new ponds for the resilience of amphibian communities which are under threat due to climate change.  

The project is generating new evidence, data and research partnerships on the carbon capture potential of wetlands, and biodiversity recovery for new habitats. It also demonstrates how similar projects can benefit the environment and people without damaging farming models.  

In addition to the benefits for wildlife, mitigating impacts of climate change and establishing a working flood plain, these new wetland areas are magical places for visitors to explore, extending the appeal of our freely accessible riverside walks.  

For more information about the project, visit the River of Life II project page  

Visitor Information

Visitor Information