Wetland restoration

Wetland restoration

Wilden Marsh

An area of a hidden nature reserve is being improved for wildlife thanks to funding from Severn Trent’s Boost for Biodiversity.

The Trust's Wilden Marsh is a 37 hectare nature reserve between Kidderminster and Stourport. A true haven for wildlife, most of the nature reserve is not open to the public.

The restoration work includes opening up shaded ditches to allow sunlight to reach the banks, which in turn will support pollinating insects, birds and small mammals. The ditches are open water habitats that are home to wetland plants and aquatic invertebrates and the improvements will re-open corridors through the landscape for species such as the endangered water vole.

Andy Harris, the member of staff responsible for managing the site, explained “We’d like to say a big thank you to Severn Trent because their funding is enabling us to get started on work that we’ve been keen to do for some time.

“Wilden Marsh is a special place but to maintain a habitat where wildlife can thrive sometimes takes more effort than our regular volunteers are able to do.

“Contractors with special machinery will be able to access parts of the marsh in order to coppice and pollard some trees in order to allow light into shaded areas. The trees will grow back and this growth will provide different kinds of habitat to the mature trees on site.

“We’ll also be removing some trees that have fallen into the river and are threatening structures downstream. Sometimes fallen timber in rivers can provide wonderful habitats but in this case they’re also trapping large amounts of rubbish that are being washed downstream from higher in the catchment of the River Stour.”

Despite its name, Wilden Marsh consists of both dry and marshy fields as well as alder and willow woods and reedbeds, all with different plants and wildlife. The marsh is fed from nearby springs and is grazed by cattle in order to keep the coarser plants and scrub in check.

Marshland is scarce in Worcestershire, which makes the work to restore habitat at Wilden Marsh particularly important. It is hoped that the work will help plants like marsh cinquefoil and southern marsh orchid.

Zara Frankton, Senior Biodiversity Coordinator at Severn Trent, said “The restoration of wetland at Wilden Marsh is the perfect example of what our Great Big Nature Boost initiative aims to achieve – improving the region’s natural environment.

“It’s a project we’re delighted to support, which will bring lots of far-reaching benefits to the area. Not only is it good news for local wildlife, the improvements will also help water quality in the area, proving that what’s good for nature, is good for water too.”

Severn Trent announced in March 2020 its largest ever commitment to improve and enhance 5000 hectares of biodiversity across the region.  

As well as funding the current work, the Boost for Biodiversity fund will also provide costs for monitoring the impact of the work on wildlife at Wilden Marsh for the next four years.