Beckingham Marshes - Wetland Restoration

The RSPB have returned 70 ha of arable land near the River Trent to grassland and now plan to restore wet grassland habitat known as “coastal and floodplain grazing marsh” on the entire project area. This will be undertaken through large scale landscape engineering, creating new water features, installing new sluices, pumps and ditches and changing the water management within the site.

This grazing marsh restoration project was designed to provide habitat suitable for wading birds to breed on the site. Fencing and gates enabled cattle grazing and the hedgerows managed to control predators. In designing and managing a suitable wetland for the needs of a range of wetland birds, a number of key factors were taken into consideration including:

-          providing soils moist enough for wading birds to probe into

-          ensuring that the invertebrate numbers and densities remain high (by not drowning out earthworm populations for example)

-          by grazing the grassland with cattle at the right stocking levels and the right times of the year

-          by keeping ditch levels high throughout the year and allowing moisture to penetrate the fields.

As a result of the project, Beckingham Marshes will provide an ideal advisory and demonstration site for wetland management for other landowners and conservation managers, thus influencing a wider audience to help achieve the objectives in UK, Regional and Local biodiversity action plans.

The project at Beckingham Marshes will dramatically improve the expanse of wildlife habitat along the River Trent, and form a stronger connection with communities either side of the river.

The restoration of priority habitats along the Trent Valley corridor will see the largest creation of wet grassland in the county of Nottinghamshire for decades, representing almost a last bastion for scarce breeding species such as curlew, lapwing, yellow wagtail and tree sparrow in dedicated conservation areas. Beckingham Marshes is now supporting up to 30% of the breeding Lapwing along the Trent Valley and with new conservation remedies such as our predator fence, the legacy of the project will be to protect and enhance this number into the future.


Since completion not only birds but water voles have returned to the site, along with dragonflies and damselflies, and creativity was required to best achieve restoration of water – the basis of any wetland.

The project  has provided a key component of the River Trent wildlife corridor promoted in the ‘On Trent’ initiative.  The Trent is the third longest river in England rising on Biddulph Moor in Staffordshire and flowing into the Humber Estuary, it becomes tidal at Cromwell, downstream of Newark.  

Please visit here for further information about Beckingham Marshes Reserve

Project Details

National (BW)
Project types
May 01, 2010
Mar 24, 2015
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Grant Information

FCC Biodiversity Action Fund
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