Budleigh Salterton is home to the Lower Otter Restoration Project, an initiative which has seen plenty of progress since it’s beginning. The project aims to maintain and secure public footpaths, such as the South West Footpath, reconnecting the river to its floodplain and an increased area of inter-tidal habitat to encourage wildlife. 

With works due to be finished later this year, it is fantastic news that another milestone has been reached. 23,000 saplings have been planted with the aim to transform what was once a domestic tip. These trees will completely reclaim the space with the aim to create a pleasant green space for the community and visitors. 

225 of the trees planted were done so as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy scheme, which was launched last year as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, and then continued as part of the late Queen’s legacy.

An array of species have been planted, such as a mix of canopy trees, understory shrubs, small trees such as field maple, silver and downy birch, crack, grey, goat and white willow, guelder and dog rose, crab apple, wild cherry, hawthorn, blackthorn, hornbeam, pedunculate and sessile oak. Existing hedgerows have been thickened and improved, as well as new additional ones planted. 

All this progress will provide many benefits for wildlife. Creating vital habits for small mammals, birds and insects, as well as connectivity throughout the landscape for wildlife to seek refuge. It will also help to increase local biodiversity, ‘lock-in’ carbon and help with human health and wellness through recreational use of the green space. 

Dan Boswell of the Environment Agency said:

“This is another big step forward for the project and our efforts to restore the Lower Otter Valley to a more natural state. The planting addresses some of the ecological and environmental challenges we have in the area and will play an important role in enhancing local biodiversity and visitor’s experiences.

It is early days, but the Lower Otter Restoration Project is already having clear positive effects on the valley’s ability to attract more and more varied birdlife, and as these saplings grow and the newly restored wetlands develop, this will greatly increase.”

Earlier this month, both Simon Jupp, MP for East Devon, and Andrea Ayer, Operations Manager at the Environment Agency, visited the site to view the project’s progress, as well as plant a tree to celebrate World Planting Day. 

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