The Wylye Chalk Stream Project has been successful in securing Government money.

The environmental project has won in the second round of the Government’s Landscape Recovery scheme, which awards funding for farmers and land managers for projects that support net zero, protected sites and habitat creation.

The project was one of 34 successful second-round projects, which all demonstrated new ideas to reverse the decline in nature and support the sustainable food production.

The Wylye Chalk Stream Project will be the first landscape-scale collaboration of its kind focused on enhancing a large stretch of chalk stream for the benefit of wildlife in Wiltshire.

The project will be led by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust with the Wylye Valley Farmers group and Wessex Rivers Trust.

Like many natural landscapes, the River Wylye has been dredged, straightened and polluted over the last few centuries, putting its unique flora and fauna at risk of decline.

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As a result of reduced water quality, low flows, and poor quality river habitat, wildlife such as river flies, Atlantic salmon, grayling and wild brown trout have suffered, while invasive plant species such as Himalayan balsam have been outcompeting native flora on river banks. Water meadows along the river have also disappeared, becoming fragmented and scarce, limiting the ability of wading birds, such as snipe, green sandpipers and lapwings, to spread and flourish.

The Wylye Valley Chalk Stream Project will restore the river’s natural relationship with its floodplain over a 20-kilometre stretch of currently under-utilised farmland. The river’s ability to capture and diffuse any harmful excess nutrients and pollutants from the wider landscape will also be improved.

Robin Leech from Wylye Valley Farmers said: “The Wylye Valley Farmers are custodians of this chalk stream. Working with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Wessex Rivers Trust, we believe that we can achieve some really pioneering work to fully enhance the biodiversity that lives here.”

Dave Rumble, chief executive of Wessex Rivers Trust, said: “The scheme has been built from the ground up, with farmers and experts shaping a pioneering and exciting vision. The dream team of Wylye Valley Farmers, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Wessex Rivers Trust will give the legendary River Wylye Valley the boost it truly deserves.”