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New Wetland Brings Together Conservation and Farming

A fantastic new wetland and outdoor classroom is being created at Sewborwens Farm, Newton Rigg College, Penrith thanks to funding from the European Union.

The project, a partnership between Eden Rivers Trust and Newton Rigg College, will show first-hand how farmland wetlands and ponds can help to improve wildlife, flood storage and water quality within the farmed landscape.

Site of new wetland at Newton Rigg College as work begins

Site of new wetland at Newton Rigg College as work begins

An array of new habitats will be created and restored including ponds, ditches, species rich grassland, wet woodland, and reedbeds and it hoped the new site will soon be teeming with wildlife, rich in insects, animals and birds.

The wetland will provide opportunities for students, apprentices and local volunteers to get involved creating, managing and surveying the new habitats. They will be able to gain valuable hands-on-experience in a wide range of countryside and environmental management skills.

A wooden classroom, composting toilet and pond dipping platform are also planned.

The wetland will be fed by a small stream which drains the surrounding farmland and by rainwater collected from roofs at the college’s new dairy unit. Used for washing down and cleaning the parlour any excess roof water will overflow from the collection pond in the farm yard and down into the small stream feeding the wetland.

Eden Rivers Trust Apprentices helped get the project underway by putting up livestock fencing. The wetland designs and creation work is being undertaken by Open Space.

The scheme is part of a much wider project, Adaptive Land Use for Flood Alleviation (ALFA), in which people and organisations have been working together to restore wetland habitats and create flood storage areas throughout North West Europe to reduce the risk of flooding to communities living alongside rivers.

Malcolm Riding, Director of the Northern School and Game and Wildlife at Newton Rigg College, said, “This important wildlife habitat will enhance the work we have already undertaken under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and latterly Higher Level Stewardship. We are looking forward to an even greater diversity of wildlife and plant species on our farm.”

Will Cleasby, Senior Farming and Rivers Specialist at Eden Rivers Trust, said, “The new wetland provides a great opportunity to demonstrate how modern dairy farming can work with conservation to provide a number of benefits from flood storage to habitat restoration. We are very grateful to Newton Rigg college for providing this opportunity”

The ALFA project has been funded by INTERREG IVB NWE programme which is a financial instrument of the European Union's Cohesion Policy. It funds projects which support transnational cooperation. The aim is to find innovative ways to make the most of territorial assets and tackle shared problems of Member States, regions and other authorities.

Eden Rivers trust

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