Wootton Riverine Woodland

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

To download the planning application,

To download the planning application, visit and type in the application number 16/00242

Pre-restoration condition of Wootton stream:


Restoration focus

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.

We have continued to collect post-restoration fish, invertebrate and vegetation data to help gather an even greater range of scientifically robust evidence about the effectiveness of restoration techniques. This monitoring will shed more light on the environmental benefits of the scheme, and any improvements that we could make in the future.

This restoration work will also 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.