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Cheshire farmers to work together to improve the environment and reduce flooding

08 February 2018

A group of farmers along the River Dane corridor near Middlewich and Northwich are to work in partnership with The Mersey Forest and Reaseheath College to improve water management and restore nature habitats.
The Lower Dane Farmers group of 22 landowners has been formed thanks to a successful application to Natural England's Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund. The Fund rewards groups of farmers for coming together to work out the best ways to improve the natural environment across their land, providing habitats for wildlife on a landscape scale to better aid conservation of important species. The Lower Dane Farmers group is one of 98 clusters of farmers funded to carry out this work across England.

The group will identify opportunities for improving water quality and, where appropriate, slowing the flow of floodwaters. This could be achieved through the installation of features such as leaky dams and wetlands that hold water in the landscape during storm events. The group will also use land management to reduce the risk of soil and nutrient losses, for example planting trees to reduce soil erosion and overland flow.

The group will be facilitated by a partnership between The Mersey Forest and Reaseheath College. Members own land within the catchments of the Lower Dane including Fowle Brook, Wheelock Brook and the main stem of the Dane between Middlewich and Northwich. The Dane corridor is prone in flooding in places and therefore poses some significant challenges for farmers along the main watercourse. The group are interested in working together to tackle flood risk, manage soils in the floodplain, and create opportunities for new and restored wildlife habitats.

It is hoped that through the work of local farmers, the River Dane will become a flagship example of how environmental management of rivers can be achieved by farmers and landowners themselves, benefiting farm businesses, wildlife and the wider community.

If you would like to enquire about membership of either group, please contact

Photo: Copyright Dr Duncan Pepper and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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