Chearsley Wetland Creation

As part of ongoing work in the Thame catchment, the River Thame Conservation Trust (RTCT) is working with Freshwater Habitats Trust and local farmers to improve the freshwater landscape, restoring more natural river systems and floodplain habitats.

As a result of this catchment approach, an outstanding opportunity for floodplain wetland habitat restoration has arisen, with landowner Rose Dale at Manor Farm, Chearsley. Working alongside land management changes on the farm, the creation of a complex of wetland habitats and clean water ponds will benefit freshwater and other wildlife on site and across the wider landscape. When completed the new floodplain wetland mosaic habitat will contribute to enhanced and more resilient ecosystems services (e.g. flood prevention, nutrient cycling and cultural enrichment). The site will improve landscape-scale connectivity, adding valuable ‘stepping stones’ for species dispersal.

Because of its exceptional biodiversity, the River Thame catchment has been identified as an Important Freshwater Landscape in Freshwater Habitats Trust’s new Freshwater Network. RTCT will work with Freshwater Habitats Trust to develop Manor Farm as a national best practice demonstration site for floodplain wetland restoration.

In the longer-term, the new wetland mosaic could become a focus site for the re-introduction of freshwater plants and animals whose populations are declining or have become extinct in the River Thame catchment.

Project aims:

  • To restore and rewet floodplain habitat through the creation of a floodplain wetland mosaic habitat, a new UK Priority Habitat, comprising ponds and pools of varying depths and sizes to benefit a wide range of freshwater species.
  • To create a new backwater linked to the River Thame, to provide shelter and nursery grounds to benefit a range of fish species.
  • To provide clean water which can support species sensitive to water pollution, which is very widespread in the Thame catchment.


  • This is a Thame Catchment Partnership project between partners Freshwater Habitats Trust and River Thame Conservation Trust.
  • Funded from Green Recovery Challenge Fund awarded to FHT and Environment Agency Water Environment Improvement Fund (WEIF) awarded to RTCT.


  • Working with White Horse Contractors we will be on site during most of August and into early September
  • Every care will be taken to protect existing species on site during the works.
  • Please be patient if you use the public footpath across the farm during this period.