Eythrope Wetland Creation

The Eythrope Wetland Creation project was RTCT's first large-scale project and the first of its kind in the Thame catchment.

The project created high-quality floodplain wetland and grassland habitat and provides clean water where wildlife can thrive with improved resilience.

Project Highlights:

130 bird species recorded in regular surveys undertaken since 2015
32-hectares of new wetland mosaic habitat created along the River Thame
Granted Local Wildlife Site status in 2023

This project was made possible by working in partnership with Freshwater Habitats Trust and the Environment Agency.

Built on the Waddesdon Estates LLC, the project would not have been possible without the willingness and enthusiasm of the Estates to deliver benefits for nature alongside their farming practices. The Eythrope wetland and backwater project was constructed over multiple phases from 2019 through 2021.

The new wetland complex is made up of a diverse mix of sizes and depths of ponds and scrapes with long drawdown zones and shallow margins.

The ponds will dry and rewet with the seasons and give a diverse range of habitat niches for a range of plants and animals.

The complex features a backwater which is connected to the river thus providing ideal habitat for fish fry to thrive as well as creating a refuge from pollution and extreme flow conditions, including those exacerbated by climate change.

The Eythrope Wetland Complex through the seasons

The site is also a key wetland bird habitat and is a stepping stone between two important wetland bird hotspots near Aylesbury and Waterstock.

Regular bird surveys have taken place on the site and over 130 different bird species have been recorded. This new habitat has proven important for supporting over-wintering populations of wildfowl and wading birds and providing breeding grounds for riparian species like Reed Warblers. You can explore all of the species recorded near Eythrope and the rest of the catchment in our Bird Atlas 2016-2020.

Goosander, Sandpiper, Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Teal, and Curlew are just a handful of wildfowl and wetland bird species benefitting from the new wetlands.

Only a few years after its creation the site has become a designated Local Wildlife Site due to the impressive and diverse wildlife observations made.

In addition to the bird species records, the site is also home to an array of mammals, including otters, voles, and moles, and surveys have recorded the presence of ten different bat species. Rare plants also thrive across the site. The fields are dominated by tall, tussocky grassland and include several wetland indicator species. Plants like Brown sedge (Carex disticha) and Wild clary (Salvia verbanaca) have been recorded and are both uncommon species for Buckinghamshire.

The project has become a demonstration site for what can be achieved on a low-diversity floodplain site.

Visits from the Thame Catchment Partnership and Thame Catchment Farmer Cluster have inspired landowners, land managers, NGOs, and government officials to join our vision of a restored floodplain along the entire length of the River Thame. The success of the site wouldn’t be so widely appreciated without the survey work conducted by Project Officers from River Thame Conservation Trust and Freshwater Habitats Trust and many dedicated volunteers.

Thank you to:

Our Funders: The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, The Rothschild Foundation, Thames Water

Our Partners & Suppliers: Waddesdon Estate LLC, Aylesbury Vale District Council, Environment Agency, Freshwater Habitats Trust, White Horse Contractors
Our Volunteers: Adam Price, Nick Marriner, Mark Ritson & Sue Faulds

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