There are many catchments within Devon and Cornwall where water quality and flood risk is impacted by land management (River Basin Management Plan). Research and development demonstrates that woodland planting is cost beneficial and can form an important pollution and flood reduction measure if targeted appropriately.
A recent report jointly funded by Forestry Commission England and the Environment Agency reviewed the latest evidence concerning the positive and negative impacts of woodland on surface and ground waters. The Environment Agency’s Summary Report of this work concluded that:
• There is strong evidence to support woodland creation in appropriate locations to achieve water management and water quality objectives,
• Woodland contributing to tackling diffuse pollution, includes both a barrier and interception function, helping to trap and retain nutrients and sediment in polluted runoff,
• A good case can be made for the mitigation of downstream flooding by riparian and floodplain woodland.
We are now running our Woods4Water project to improve water quality and reduce downstream flood risk to local communities. We are working in partnership with the Blackdown Hills AONB and with funding from the Environment Agency's Water and Environment Grant (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas).
Woods4Water is running in the following three project areas:
Woods4Water supports landowners with advice and financial contributions at Countryside Stewardship rates towards:
Please contact us to book an advisor visit
Phone: 01271 388495
Phone: 01271 388537
Phone: 01823 680681
To deliver our Woods4Water project advice, we are working with the following experienced and highly regarded partners within the South West:
North Devon - FWAG SouthWest
North Cornwall - Westcountry Rivers Trust
East Devon - FWAG SouthWest
The project also supports installation of natural flood management features (eg. leaky/log dams, hedgerows and field bunds) to slow the flow of both in-stream and in-field flood waters.
Funding for woodland planting under 1ha can be guided through the Woodland Trust's MOREWoods scheme and, schemes over 1ha can be supported through the more appropriate Countryside Stewardship scheme, which have larger recurring payments.
80 landowners are to be advised
90ha of woodland planting to be delivered
Small sustainable drainage projects approved, delivered and verified on 40 holdings
7 advisory workshops for landowners and land managers
This leaky dam was installed as part of another North Devon Biosphere's catchment wide Natural Flood Management project and is also available as a capital item through Woods4Water.
What do landowners think about our project?
"We live on a 19 acre smallholding in North Devon. For some time we have been wondering how to use a steep parcel of land that leads down to a stream. The stream is bordered by neglected trees which have been coppiced at some time in the past. We had been thinking about planting trees on the steep land and trying to revive the woods.
One day a flyer was delivered which described the Woods for Water scheme. It looked interesting but we thought ours would be too small a project. However, we contacted Sophia Craddock at Woods for Water and within a few weeks they came and looked at the land. They identified several areas they felt were worth pursuing, tree planting to take up excess water, changes to the flow in the stream to encourage flooding along the stream and reducing the flow to the river after extreme weather, fencing along the stream to prevent pollution from animals and gradually managing the woodland, reintroducing coppicing and promoting wildlife.
Sophia put together a plan and helped us apply for the necessary grants. It all went very smoothly, and we are looking forward to getting started on the woods in Autumn followed by planting 700 trees later in the year. This will be a community exercise with friends and neighbours helping, fuelled by our home-made cider." (North Devon Landowner, 2019)