The National Trust and Westcountry Rivers Trust are working together to start the process of enhancing nature in the floodplain from Ellerhayes Bridge to Columbjohn on the Killerton estate.

On the evening of 20th April a selection of speakers gathered to present the 50 year vision and plans to deliver the first phase of works funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund over the next 12 months. Check out the recording of the event and the Q&A here.

Connecting the Culm Project Manager Steven Johnson gave an introduction and overview to the plans, followed by a presentation from Phillip Smart on the National Trust’s overall strategy and ambition, touching on the Killerton plans.

Antony Firth from Fjordr then took us backwards in time to explore the floodplain from prehistory through to the medieval period, before returning to key changes in recent centuries. Although there’s no going back to old landscapes, understanding floodplain heritage helps us to go forward in a better way, working with the grain of the river’s history to improve both biodiversity and flood risk.

Jo Neville from the Westcountry Rivers Trust turned the time machine dial the other way, taking us forwards in time – through the use of an aerial fly-through and artistic visualisations – to show a vision for the floodplain’s Eastern, Central and Western Zones out to 2050. Increased areas of wetland, wet woodland, wildflower meadows, wetland scrapes, species-rich grassland, scrub and ponds would become familiar sights around Killerton. Enhanced bank protection and increased freshwater and overall biodiversity would result – encouraging mammals, fish, birds and bats to thrive, alongside plenty of long-term (COVID-safe) volunteering opportunities. After Jo’s inspirational talk the floor opened to a lively question and answer session, facilitated by a panel including the speakers and National Trust’s Estate Manager Richard Jackson, which covered both the bigger and local pictures and themes important to people nearby.

Read more on the National Trust’s website.