Dunston Beck Project in Lincolnshire

A terrific project on the limestone Dunston Beck in Lincolnshire has put this arrow-straight river into a more natural shape, together with lots of floodplain features.

Work on the 3‑hectare site has turned a former arable field into diverse floodplain wetland and meadow habitat allowing wildlife to thrive. The work was led by the Wild Trout Trust and involved collaboration between the landowner, Beeswax Dyson Farming, the Environment Agency, the Lincolnshire Rivers Trust and the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. Not only will the project benefit fish species such as brown trout and aquatic plants and invertebrates, but the back channels and ponds will be great for bird species such as snipe.

Project manager for the Wild Trout Trust, Tim Jacklin said,
We’re delighted to have been involved in the development and delivery of this project along with our project partners. Creating more natural areas alongside our rivers and streams has so many benefits. As well as making them simply nicer places to be, it provides more space for water and better wildlife habitats, making our landscapes more resilient to climate change and boosting biodiversity. It will be great to see this site develop as the wildflower seeding and native planting becomes established.”

The Lincolnshire Limestone Becks are an important local habitat. Historically they have been supplied by consistent flows of high-quality groundwater water from the Limestone aquifer. They are isolated and unique, and where in good condition, support a rich aquatic fauna and flora rarely found in Eastern England. As with the other Lincolnshire Limestone Becks, from its source, the Dunston beck would have historically meandered its way down from the higher ground of the Lincolnshire ridge to low lying fenland areas in the East. Habitat would have been varied with, back channels, wetlands, clean gravel beds and pool and riffle sequences. This variation is vital in supporting an abundant and diverse range of wildlife but as with many of our watercourses in the UK, this has been lost due to historic alterations. This project has helped to restore an area of this lost habitat.

Aerial images below — before (left) during (centre) and after the project work.

Aerial of site preworks looking upstream
Aerial of ground works nearly finished looking upstream
Aerial looking downstream of 2 split channels