River Of Life II

The project board has conducted a detailed and in depth analysis of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Based on this, and with a sense of responsibility to the working teams and the construction crews, the board has decided to commence work in 2021 rather than this year. The board remains committed to the project and in the interim period will work to further enhance its impact. Read our full statement here.x

Following on from the success of the first River of Life project, near Shillingford, Earth Trust identified additional sites along the river where there was potential to carry out similar wetland creation works. We have now partnered with local landowners Church Farm Partnership and The Hurst Water Meadow Trust to improve water ecosystems along the River Thames and River Thame. Thanks to funding from a Water Environment Grant, this exciting new partnership project will revive and create natural riverside wetland systems and increase biodiversity.

What we are doing

In spring 2019 Earth Trust was delighted to announce we are to receive a Water Environment Grant for an exciting new partnership project which will build on the success of the River of Life project.

New ponds, backwaters and wet woodland will provide vital habitats for wildlife and slow down and filter water as it flows towards the river. The creation of these features, alongside mosaics of other natural habitats, will improve the quality of the landscape.

River of Life II will create these new wetland habitats along the River Thames and River Thame: at Earth Trust’s Clifton Meadow on the south bank of the River Thames; at Church Farm north of Days Lock, owned by the Church Farm Partnership; and at Overy Mead on the banks of the River Thame, managed by The Hurst Water Meadow Trust. The project will also fund the creation of several new ponds in Little Wittenham Wood, home to one of the country’s most significant populations of great crested newts.

Pre-construction work will begin this year and includes discussions with local communities and other interested stakeholders, negotiating access agreements, archaeological and ecological surveys, and refining designs. The main earth work period will take place in summer 2020, followed by the final physical elements of the project relating to access and interpretation.

Tune into Jayne, Earth Trust’s CEO talking about the project and its benefits to the area with That’s Oxfordshire TV.

Download a PDF of the visuals used in the public consultation events in October 2019.

River of Life 2 is being funded by a Water Environment Grant through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. We have submitted two separate planning applications, one for the backwaters along the river which can be found here, and one for the ponds in Little Wittenham Woods which can be found here.

The Impact

The River of Life projects (1 and 2) sit within the Earth Trust’s Water and Wetlands programme. Key to the programme is the demonstration of the management of water and wetlands in the landscape and the importance and value of water to society. The creation of wetland habitats alongside the Thames and in Little Wittenham Wood will provide some building blocks for the demonstration of how wetlands can be manged on a landscape scale and, particularly, how floodplains can contribute to managing flood water and a range of other societal benefits.

How can you support us?

You can help Earth Trust protect and support our important green spaces by making a one off donation or becoming an Earth Trust Friend.

Back to Top