Over the last 3 years the CtC team have been working with landowners to design and deliver a range of ‘nature-based solutions’ (NBS) on land within the Culm catchment. A number of different NBS designs have been constructed as demonstration sites as part of the Interreg 2 Seas funded phase of the project. Landowners have been paid standard Countryside Stewardship rates to construct a variety of different NBS methods aimed at reducing flood risk and improving drought resilience. This has included 172 leaky woody dams and almost 2000 cubic metres of temporary water storage. The table below explains the different methods used, the benefits they deliver and how much the CTC project and landowners have delivered across the catchment.

A table showing different nature-based solutions, their resilience benefits, resilience targets and Connecting the Culm targets.

*Scrape calculations based on average depth of scrape of 0.25m

16 out of the 19 schemes designed were delivered in 2022 including the projects biggest design at the National Trust Killerton Estate. Working in partnership with The National Trust and West Country Rivers Trust, this scheme created 1356 cubic meters of temporary water storage through linear and traditional scrape creation, and is already delivering significant flood, drought and biodiversity benefits along the River Culm Floodplain.

A dam made from natural wood holding back water but letting some flow through

Leaky woody dam to help slow the flow of water.

The CTC ‘Potential Areas of Improved Resilience’ (PAIRS) mapping developed by JBA associates for the project was fundamental in helping the CTC team determine where NBS investments would deliver most benefit. This computer model was updated in 2022 and is now being used to target additional NBS schemes that are now being planned elsewhere in the catchment through the Devon Resilience Innovation Project (DRIP) project. The model and PAIRS maps will continue to play an important role in designing and develop additional NBS projects within the catchment in the coming years.

Whilst these demonstration sites have undoubtedly delivered a range of benefits, if we are to make any significant impact on reducing flood risk, improving drought resilience improving water quality and enhancing biodiversity, significant additional investment in NBS is required within the catchment over the next 25 years. The CTC Blueprint sets out the Target Objectives that will help deliver the projects long term vision to achieve this change.

A landscapes with scrapes - shallow ponds close to the river to help hold back flood water.

Scrapes at Lower Courtsmoor Farm

Scrapes at Lower Courtsmoor Farm