The River Wylye is a tributary of the Hampshire Avon arising through a series of springs upstream of Kingston Deverill gaining a number pf inputs in the form of tributaries and springs until it reaches the River Nadder just downstream of Wilton. This groundwater dominated river is designated as a SSSI and SAC for the chalk stream habitat and is characterised by several interest features i.e. Ranunculus communities and support the SAC fish species Atlantic salmon, Brook lamprey and Bullhead as well as wider fish, invertebrate and plant communities. However, historically the river and its floodplain have been modified and managed and in parts is relatively degraded with specific reference to geomorphology and ecology.

This project will concentrate on a 2km stretch of the River Wylye from Heytesbury to Knook. The fishing rights throughout this section are owned by the Piscatorial Society who actively manage the river and promote best practice fishery management. There are some significant impounding structures, hatches and sluices throughout this reach which impact fish passage, floodplain connection and the function of natural river processes. 

The main focus of the feasibility study is to identify opportunities to restore priority chalk river habitats that are characterised by the Ranunculus and Callitriche plant communities and the species that it supports. The study and report will identify potential opportunities for improving the river morphology through natural process (that will support the SAC fish species such as Atlantic salmon, Brook lamprey and Bullhead as well as Grayling, known to be in significant decline in this part of the River Wylye, and other fish, invertebrate and plant communities) alongside creating additional recreational opportunities and community involvement.

This feasibility study was completed in 2019/20. Watch this space for more information on the next phase of the project. 

This project was kindly funded by the Environment Agency.