Queen’s Marsh restoration project

A project aiming to create a home for a vast array of wildlife – from otters and bats to wading birds and fish – and to ensure that current and future generations can observe and engage with the wildlife on the Dartington estate.

We are currently seeking funding for the next phase of the project. Visit our TotalGiving campaign page to find out how you can help ⇒

In a nutshell

Seven hectares of wet grassland at the southern tip of the estate (see gallery for map)

A restoration project to create wetland habitats for wildlife, enhance public enjoyment of the area, and reduce potential future flood risk. The first stage of work has begun, as we dig out two ponds, seven scrapes and regrade the bank of the Bidwell brook – full details on the current work can be found in our latest updates below ⇓

Many people enjoy the Dartington Hall estate’s beautiful scenery and native wildlife. However, at Queen’s Marsh, farming practices and other factors have unwittingly contributed to a decrease in biodiversity over the years.

Now, with the support of Natural England, the Environment Agency, players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and individuals making donations we have an opportunity to change that story. The State of Nature report, published in 2016, revealed that 56% of our UK wildlife species have declined in recent years. This is our chance to play our own small part in putting that right.

Jump to our latest updates below for more info.

Project in pictures

Queen's Marsh from the air

Queen's Marsh from the air

Aerial shots of the area that will ultimately become a biodiversity-rich wetland. In the left hand image, the A385 is seen on the right, with Totnes visible in the distance. Photography: Gifford Hooper

Proposed Plan View

Proposed Plan View

Proposed Plan View for Queen's Marsh development - click full screen icon in top right corner for enlarged view

Queen's Marsh in flood

Queen's Marsh in flood

While the Marsh does sometimes flood, water also recedes almost as rapidly. The new ponds created as part of this project will ensure a continuous water habitat. Thanks to Gillian Cartwright for sending in this fantastic image.

Location on Dartington Hall estate

Location on Dartington Hall estate

Showing full location with Dartington Hall to the north and Totnes to the south

Canada Geese at Queen's Marsh

Canada Geese at Queen's Marsh

When the field is in flood it becomes more attractive to wildlife. This project aims to create a diversity of habitats, allowing an equally diverse array of species to use the site permanently - ensuring it gets far more visitors than these sporadically present Canada geese.

What might happen at Queen's Marsh?

What might happen at Queen's Marsh?

Image showing some of the biodiversity and ecology possiblities for the project outlined in the feasibility study.

Useful links

Archive gallery: Looking back at the history of Queen’s Marsh and how we’re learning from the past

Read more ⇒

Feasibility study: The project feasibility assessment in full (or read the highlights here)

Read more (pdf, 4MB) ⇒

Follow this project: How to stay up to date with developments

Read more ⇒

Follow progress with Project Manager Harriet’s blogs

Latest updates (newest at top)

More Food & Farming blogs >
Winning Soundscape bird hide design for Queens Marsh

Food and Farming blog: New bird hide design is a winner!

Students from the University of Plymouth have created a design inspired by Dartington's kingfishers - but we need your feedback to help us decide where the new bird hide should be located. Read More >>

Aerial image showing the new ponds and scrapes at Queen's Marsh

Food and Farming blog: New bird hide set to open up restored wetland

In an exciting and unanticipated developement, Queen’s Marsh will now be getting a bird hide - thanks to students from the school of architecture at Plymouth University. Read More >>

queen's marsh montage

Work starts on first stage of Queen's Marsh wetland habitat restoration

Work has begun to transform Queen’s Marsh area into a wetland home for a vast array of wildlife - but the help of the public is needed to ensure the project can be completed. Read More >>

Queen's Marsh montage

Food and Farming blog: Our ducks are in a row - now they're getting a pond

After much planning, it's time for action! Work to create the fundamental structure for reinstating the entire 7 hectares of Queen’s Marsh field as a wetland has now been confirmed - read on to find out more. Read More >>

Thanks to Gillian Cartwright for sending in this fantastic image of Queen's Marsh in flood!

Food and Farming blog: Getting our ducks in a row at Queen's Marsh

Following the results of a feasibility study which recommended proactively reinstating wetland habitats in Queen’s Marsh, Harriet has been trying to do exactly that - but it's not the simplest of tasks... Read More >>

Canada Geese at Queen's Marsh

Food and Farming blog: Wetland restoration vision takes shape

Last autumn we asked for help with a feasibility study we had commissioned into the potential to restore Queens Marsh to a wetland habitat. Here, Harriet reveals the study's conclusions... Read More >>

Food and Farming blog: Rediscovering the secrets of Queen's Marsh

Harriet takes a fascinating look through the archives, in an effort to understand the history of Queen's Marsh - an exercise that will help guide Dartington's potential restoration of the site. Read More >>

Edge of Queen's Marsh, Dartington in flood, captured by Leonard Elmhirst on 30 Feb 1967

Dartington’s wetland to spring back

Dartington is conducting a feasibility study into the restoration of Queen’s Marsh field, and needs your help to guide this exciting potential project. Read More >>