New Forest Catchment Partnership

Beaulieu river meanders through the forest

River catchment project

The New Forest is a unique and precious landscape. It contains many small rivers and streams which begin in boggy heathland mires, as well as small lakes, numerous ponds and coastal saltmarshes. These water bodies are some of the most important areas for wildlife in the UK and Europe.

We can help improve these areas for wildlife by addressing threats such as water quality, quantity and the naturalness of the channel in which the water runs.

The New Forest Catchment Partnership was created out of an initial pilot funded by Defra and lead by the Freshwater Habitats Trust and the New Forest National Park Authority. The pilot looked at the benefits of working with local communities and organisations to identify opportunities to improve the health of streams, rivers and lakes and implement action. This will help meet legislative requirements, but more importantly it will improve the quality of the local environment.

The New Forest catchment is characterised by its composition of separate, unconnected streams rather than a single river system. Because of this the partnership has been focussing on individual streams, working with local people and organisations, plus statutory bodies, to pull together coordinated plans of action at an individual stream level.

Work by the catchment partnership to implement the Water Environment Improvement Plan has begun. In 2015/16 a project funded by the Environment Agency and implemented by the project partners delivered improvements on the Sowley catchment. Works included habitat restoration as well as measures to reduce the amount of pollution entering the catchment.

A programme of work is to be delivered over forthcoming years as part of the Living Waters project, led by the Freshwater Habitats Trust within the Heritage Lottery Funded Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme. Case studies of other projects are also available from the menu on the left. 

  1. River catchment project (you are here)
  2. About New Forest rivers and streams
  3. Helping our rivers and streams
  4. About New Forest Ponds
  5. Water Quality – phosphates
  6. Case study: Lymington
  7. Case study: triops
  8. Contact us


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