Blue Green Corridor

Project
River Witham running through the parkland at Belton House, Lincolnshire

During the next three years, we'll be helping to restore and reconnect the River Witham through the urban reaches of Grantham.

We’ll be working to slow the flow of the river to ease flooding, improve water quality and help wildlife to flourish in and along the river.

Many of Belton’s visitors enjoy a peaceful walk along the lush green riverside that gently meanders its way through the Grade 1 listed parkland. Some are even lucky enough to spot a kingfisher, egret or water vole.

Water voles are among the creatures the project at Belton will help
Water vole (Arvicola amphibius) Swimming
Water voles are among the creatures the project at Belton will help

Riverlands are a vital part of our natural world. They are the corridors which feed our landscapes, where our wildlife thrives and foliage blooms.

For centuries, the sights, sounds and beauty of rivers have been an everyday reminder of our connection to nature. They’ve provided water for us to drink as well as for crops to grow and tranquil places to explore.

Will you spot a kingfisher?
A kingfisher at a National Trust property
Will you spot a kingfisher?

Healthy rivers help support the environment and redefine places they run through. As part of National Trust’s ambition to play our part in restoring a healthy, beautiful natural environment, we're working in partnership with South Kesteven District Council, North Kesteven District Council and Environment Agency as part of the Blue Green Corridor project.

With support from the European Regional Development Fund, we’re rejuvenating this section of the River Witham to benefit wetland biodiversity and improve the connection with its floodplain.

" Rivers are the lifeblood of our landscapes but many of them – and the wider landscapes that feed into them – are in desperate need of repair."
- Hilary McGrady, Director General

Over the years, the river channel at Belton has deepened, and the connection to the floodplain has been significantly reduced. During spells of heavy rainfall, the water flows quickly through the narrow and deep river channel, increasing the risk of flooding further downstream.

A native white-clawed crayfish at Belton
A rare white clawed crayfish
A native white-clawed crayfish at Belton

Through this partnership project, we’re working to slow the river's flow by reconnecting the river to its original floodplain - allowing the broader landscape to absorb the effects of the weather.

This will also improve conditions for wildlife that live along the river corridor, such as water voles and white-clawed crayfish, as well as otters and the resident bat population that forages and breeds nearby.

We're working to create an environment where otters can thrive
Otter at Stackpole
We're working to create an environment where otters can thrive

The project will also develop a new wildflower area at Sedgwick Meadows, a nearby site, cared for by National Trust in Grantham town centre, which borders the River Witham. This grazing farmland was once situated on the edge of town, yet over time the urban landscape has grown up around its boundaries.

The meadows were originally gifted to the National Trust in 1944 by Miss Winifred and Miss Marion Sedgwick, along with Grantham House and gardens, which nestle on the opposite side of the riverbank.

For the butterflies and the bees, the birds and the memories; with your support, we’re making more space for nature.
Wildflowers growing in a walled garden
For the butterflies and the bees, the birds and the memories; with your support, we’re making more space for nature.

The urban greenspace of Sedgwick Meadows offers quiet solace for residents of Grantham. The public footpath, which runs along the river’s edge, also provides easy access from one part of town to another.

Through this partnership project, we hope to develop a new wildflower meadow area close to the riverside. This will not only make an attractive landscape for people but will also create a flourishing haven for pollinators, insects, birds and other wildlife.