As a charity, the Cotswold Water Park Trust runs several varied and interesting projects, through specific grant funding. These range from the ongoing Cotswold Water Vole Recovery Project and environmental enhancements on key sites within the Cotswold Water Park through to improvements to public leisure sites that the Trust manages. Recently, the Trust has been fundraising to provide a fun and interactive educational children’s playground at Riverside Park.
Tree works at Ampney Brook
Non native Himalayan Balsam
Ampney Brook after restoration work
Flow deflector being installed
The Shorncote to River Thames Wetland Connection Project
The Cotswold Water Park Trust is delighted to have received a £70,000 grant from The Hills Group through the Landfill Communities Fund and additional funding from the Environment Agency for a two year project which will see a series of environmental enhancements carried out at two of the Trust’s key sites, Cleveland Lakes and Shorncote Reedbeds, and creating better ecological connections between them by enhancing the Cerney Wick Brook. Thames Water has also kindly provided an additional grant of £15,000 to fund further enhancements to Shorncote Reedbeds.
The works to the Cerney Wick Brook will improve its habitat for fish and invertebrates, in line with the Water Framework Directive targets. Through a program of works delivering shade reduction, channel enhancement and vegetation management, cohesive enhancements are being made to the two wildlife sites, benefitting water birds and Water Voles which are yet to fully colonise the brook.
The WILD project (Water and Integrated Local Delivery) is a collaborative project which includes the Gloucestershire Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI), Cotswold Water Park Trust (CWPT) and Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (GRCC). The project is core funded by the Environment Agency.
In line with Water Framework Directive targets, the project aims to devise and deliver a plan of enhancements and management advice over its lifespan to achieve Good Ecological Status in water bodies within the Water Park area in the long-term.
Riverside Park educational playground
The Cotswold Water Park Trust received formal planning consent from Swindon Borough Council on 8th June 2018 for a proposed educational play area at Riverside Park alongside the River Thames near Lechlade. The fun, interactive facility will help children to learn about the water environment, the river and its wildlife whilst having fun and staying healthy. The Trust is now focused on raising a further £180,000 to complement the £20,000 raised through the three fundraising Balls so that the play area can be completed.
Cotswold Water Vole Recovery Project
The Water Vole has recently been cited as the UK’s fastest declining mammal species, with numbers down by 90% in the last 25 years. This has largely been due to habitat degradation and predation by the non-native American Mink. The Cotswold Water Park Water Vole Recovery Project has been running since 2002, and focuses on regular survey and monitoring of Water Vole populations in the CWP, and eradicating the American Mink. Numbers of mink have been on the decline since the project’s inception, and 2011 saw the first mink-free year. As a result of the efforts of Trust staff and volunteers, Water Vole numbers have stabilised and are increasing on some stretches of river.
New Circular Cycling Route
The CWPT has recently submitted an expression of interest to the Rural Development Programme for England Growth Fund, for a £250,000 project to create and promote a new circular cycle route using existing rights of way within the Cotswold Water Park. The project will also develop cycle path links to surrounding tourism destinations/centres of population, including Cirencester, Cricklade and Kemble (main line rail connection).