Through 2019 and into 2020, and working in conjunction with another AONB sister project, Woods for Water, works to install £50,000 of Nature-Based Solutions on farms in two sub-catchments close to the Culm catchment, are now complete.

The Corry and Coly Natural Flood Management (NFM) Project focuses on the two sub-catchments of the river Axe, in the East Devon area. Both sub-catchments have properties in settlements (Dalwood and Colyton) that are at risk from flooding and there are water quality issues. Part 1 of a 2 year project has just completed, to tackle these issues and deliver multi-objectives, including for biodiversity and providing climate change resilience.

The first stage, in 2018, was to use a theoretical model developed by the Environment Agency, that identifies the opportunity areas for interventions that will help address flood risk and deliver other objectives. However, we needed to know whether the opportunity areas identified through this model were technically/practically feasible, or whether the landowners were keen to install interventions.

By walking parts of the sub-catchments with each of the landowners in the area, the practical feasibility was assessed and a ‘working with natural processes design plan’ produced, drilling-down and ‘making real’ the WWNP dataset.

Hydrological monitoring allows us to see the results (see video below). We have linked up with two facilitation fund groups, the Blackdown Hills Farming & Woodland Group and the East Devon Farmers Group (each 60 farmer members strong) and demonstration days have been organised.

It’s great to see how small-scale, natural interventions like this can make a difference for flooding, drought and wildlife. It’s a win-win-win scenario!

Tim Youngs, Blackdown Hills AONB Manager

Time-lapse video showing how a log dam on the River Corry slowed water during Storm Gareth in 2019


The Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership has led the project, working with the Environment Agency, Devon County Council’s Flood and Coastal Risk Team, East Devon AONB Partnership, Westcountry Rivers Trust and FWAG South West.