The aim of the Woods for Water project is to stimulate woodland planting and management in appropriate locations to combat flooding and improve water quality.

Start Date: 01/12/2017 End Date: 31/03/2021

Woods for Water is focussing on three areas: North Devon, the Camel Estuary, and East Devon. The latter takes in part of the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The project is being led by North Devon Biosphere with Blackdown Hills AONB coordinating locally.

How woods benefit water

There is strong evidence to show that planting woodland in the right places is a cost-effective way of addressing issues such as water pollution and flooding. Here’s why:

  • Trees act as buffers, reducing the amount of pollutants entering watercourses
  • Tree roots help to bind soil, reducing erosion and decreasing sediment in watercourses
  • Tree roots assist the infiltration of water into the soil, thereby helping to reduce downstream flooding
  • In addition, sustainable drainage systems can be used to help ‘slow the flow’ and maintain water quality


Advice and support for landowners

The project team has been undertaking targeted visits and providing bespoke advice to landowners, encouraging and supporting them to manage woodland effectively with a view to improving water quality and alleviating flooding.

Grants are being made available to landowners for projects such as:
·         Planting trees on steep and agriculturally unproductive land
·         Building dams to slow the flow of water
·         Creating buffer strips on slopes to improve infiltration
·         Fencing, gateways and scrub clearance

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