Rewetting and restoring our wetlands
- 15 November 2023
Work begins soon to restore wetlands across Purbeck. Wetlands are incredibly important as habitats for wildlife, as well as filtering pollution, preventing flooding and storing carbon. The first projects are on the common at Corfe Castle.
Over the past century, an estimated 90% of UK wetland habitats have been lost. In Purbeck, many wetlands have been drained or left with little biodiversity. Swan Brook in Swanage and the Corfe River have been classified as in ‘poor’ condition by the Environment Agency. Excess nutrients flowing into Poole Harbour are causing toxic algae blooms which block the light and oxygen which other organisms need.
To halt the decline and restore important wetlands where appropriate, the National Trust is working with local communities, farmers and neighbouring landowners on a series of projects across Purbeck.
Why restore wetlands?
- They are home to a wide variety of animals and plants.
- They absorb water during heavy rain, helping prevent flash flooding and droughts.
- Plants in wetlands filter pollution and absorb chemicals.
- They act as carbon sinks, capturing carbon dioxide from the air.
Big East Common, Corfe
The work begins on Big East Common in Corfe Castle this winter. Contractors will infill drainage channels to recreate a more natural floodplain. Some trees will be thinned to let light through, allowing other aquatic plants to grow. This will restore wetland habitats, and benefit species such as the beautiful, but highly endangered, southern damselfly.
In other areas of the common, volunteers will create small-scale leaky dams in the channels across the site. These slow the flow of streams and trap sediment, storing more water in the landscape. This is a continuation of work carried out by volunteers since 2020.
Westwood Farm, Harman’s Cross
Work begins in summer 2024 to widen the stream that flows through the valley, slowing the flow, and recreating a more natural floodplain where it has become disconnected. The impact on public access has been considered in all the projects – at Westwood, we are proposing a slight diversion to the footpath so it avoids crossing the stream in the rewetted area.
Find out more
Find out more about how organisations are working together to improve our water environment on the Dorset Catchment Partnership website.
Work begins soon to restore wetlands across Purbeck. Wetlands are incredibly important as habitats for wildlife, as well as filtering pollution, preventing flooding and storing carbon.