Wetland restoration work returns to Wootton Bridge

The Forestry Commission’s team of experts will be starting work from 15 May on the next phase of wetland restoration at Wootton.

This will involve returning over 2miles of artificially straightened Avon Water to its natural meandering stream course through Wootton Riverine Woodland, near Sway.This work marks the latest phase in the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme which will deliver positive changes to the landscape. These will include enrichment of wetland habitats, which supports many rare species and improves grazing for Forest livestock.

The Commission’s Nick Wardlaw, who is Contract Manager for the project, said; “Last year’s restoration work to the stream progressed really well and we’ve seen the team raise the bed levels and reinstate the original meanders to a stretch of water to the west of Wootton Bridge.”

“Similar to phase one, this stage will involve returning the artificially straightened Avon Water to its natural meanders. We aim start work on 15 May to complete the first phase and move onto the next stretch of the stream.

“All existing paths, car parks and crossing points will remain in place and people will still be able to use the forest for recreational activities such as walking, cycling and horse-riding. However, there may be some temporary interruption during the ten week working phase to some of the tracks.

“Timing of the restoration works will be Monday to Friday only, allowing regular access for forest users during peak times, such as weekends, evenings and Bank Holidays.

“Wootton Bridge and other car parks (Brownhills, Broadley and Osmond Bushes) nearby will remain open whilst restoration work is underway.

“We’ll do our best to minimise disruption and I’d like to thank everyone for their understanding.”

Wetland restoration operations can be dangerous and visitor safety is of utmost importance. Information and warning signs will be in place around the work and we will advise walkers and horse riders to comply with the signs for their own safety and that of others. Alternative routes will be clearly signposted for forest users that may wish to use footpaths that are not affected by the work.

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