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

Thanks to funding from the Environment Agency and the Postcode Local Trust, work has started this week (6 July) on the first stage of work to transform Queen’s Marsh area into a wetland.

The project aims 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.

The Dartington Hall Trust’s Food and Farming Manager, Harriet Bell says: “We had hoped to secure funding to complete the entire project this year but we still have some way to go; however we’re keen to make a start on the next stages as we explore other funding possibilities to take forward the second part of the project.


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“Over the summer you can expect to see local land and water engineers Landmarc, based in Halwell, create two new ponds and seven ‘scrapes’ – very shallow and seasonal ponds around which a wild flower meadow will be seeded.

“Landmarc will also be regrading the banks of the Bidwell Brook as it passes through Queen’s Marsh, restoring its direct connection with the floodplain which is vital to the wetland habitat. This will be followed later in the year by a series on interpretation panels for public interest and enjoyment.”


Queen’s Marsh: the 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.


“Other stages of work including establishing a wet woodland, which the Woodland Trust have kindly offered to support, and putting in place a board walk and bird hide so that people can access and enjoy the marsh.

But first the project needs to raise a further £30,000 to create new and improved habitat features in the stream through the use of natural materials such as gravels and brushwood mattresses, providing better habitat for fish to spawn in and for baby fish or ‘fry’, and reducing the build-up of sediment which can exacerbate flooding in the local area.

“If you’d like to help make this happen, your donations are welcome.”

Donate now and help us take this project forward (TotalGiving) ⇒ Find out more about this project here ⇒

 


 

2 thoughts on “Work starts on first stage of Queen’s Marsh wetland habitat restoration

  1. I would be grateful if you could send me any information regarding the application for planning permission
    for the bird hide at Queens Meadow. I understand that the original site has been changed and the construction has now been completed without permission. I have also been given to understand that retrospective permission is being sought.

    1. Hi Stuart,

      You can find both the design brief and the winning design for the new bird hide in Queen’s Marsh on our website here https://www.dartington.org/new-bird-hide-design-winner/

      You’re quite right, we changed the location from what was proposed in the feasibility study.

      We had three primary reasons for the change in location. Firstly, our expert bird watchers highlighted that in the original location it would actually be very difficult to see birds due to glare reflecting from the water. In the UK hide’s should ideally be North facing, so this location is to try and provide the best sighting for bird watching. Secondly, the original location had windows facing directly towards the nearest house and we felt this impinged on the privacy of the residents, in this location the windows look away from the house along the marsh. Lastly, we looked at locating the hide further along the cycle path but this made it a challenging location from a security perspective to check regularly and also people bird watching alone would have to access the hide from an unlit path.

      The nature of the project – designed and constructed by students within a tight time frame – meant that it took almost as long to prepare the planning application for this design proposal as it did to construct the hide. It is now live on the council website for comment and you ca find it here http://apps.southhams.gov.uk/PlanningSearchMVC/Home/Details/173942

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