Wootton Riverine

Pre-restoration condition of Wootton stream:


Work on phase one of this restoration work is now complete. Find out all you need to know by reading the Wootton FAQs

The second phase of the restoration will be undertaken in 2018.

The Forestry Commission will be returning over 2.5 miles of artificially straightened Avon Water to its natural meandering stream course through Wootton Riverine Woodland. This two-year project seeks to safeguard the New Forest’s internationally important wetland habitats and help to prevent erosion washing gravel downstream. 

Restoration focus
This restoration work will slow the flow and reduce the impact of flood risk downstream. Householders in the area should be better protected from flooding by working with nature, rather than against it. By restoring the natural watercourses we will help to make sure the river is more resilient in both winter floods and summer droughts.

A flood risk assessment was undertaken, as part of the planning application, to provide evidence that the restoration works will not cause problems downstream and upstream.

Above: Wootton before restoration (top) and eight months after restoration showing the meander inserted and the old infilled straightened channel barely visible.

Benefits to wildlife and plant life
The wetland restoration scheme will soon brings significant benefits to a vast number of wildlife and plant life that inhabit the New Forest's waterways. This is a rare opportunity to restore our internationally important habitats and improve the riverside areas of Wootton for many unique species.

Recreational use of the forest
We aim to minimise disruption for forest users through a number of carefully planned routes and the timing of the next phase of restoration works will be Monday to Friday, allowing regular access for visitors during peak times, such as weekends, evenings and Bank Holidays.

We’ve worked hard to make sure a transport plan is in place to help manage restoration vehicle traffic during the next phase of the project. The environmental assessments that have been carried out have allowed us to develop robust plans to manage and safeguard the natural environment and wildlife. We couldn’t do this work without the support of the community and we hope that residents and visitors will continue to enjoy the forest.

How will the restoration work be funded?
This restoration work will be funded by the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship scheme, which is drawn from European and Central Government to spend on environmental restoration projects. The improvements made will help protect the New Forest’s precious habitats and ancient way of life, preserving this beautiful landscape for future generations to enjoy. This is part of a ten-year scheme, funded by Natural England, which is held by the Verderers and managed by them in partnership with the Forestry Commission and the New Forest National Park Authority.


(Proposed watercourse after restoration - download copy here)