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.
“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
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 for Queen's Marsh development - click full screen icon in top right corner for enlarged view
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
Showing full location with Dartington Hall to the north and Totnes to the south
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?
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.