Hampshire Avon
Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC) Project

Hampshire Avon Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC) Project
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Avon

The Hampshire Avon River catchment is located in the south of England and flows through the counties of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset.  The river is 60 km in length and covers a total catchment area of approximately 1,750 km2.  It begins in Wiltshire as two separate rivers: the western Avon rises to the east of Devizes, draining the Vale of Pewsey, and the eastern Avon rises just east of Pewsey.  These merge at Upavon, flowing south across the Salisbury Plain, through the New Forest at Fordingbridge and Ringwood and meeting the river Stour at Christchurch where it flows into Christchurch Harbour reaching the English Channel at Mudeford, Dorset.

The Avon river catchment includes the Sem, Nadder, Wylye, Bourne and Ebble tributaries, which all converge within a short distance around Salisbury.

The river Avon and its major tributaries have been designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the river Avon catchment is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The Avon is a calcareous river with its upper reaches flowing through chalk, with clay in its western headwaters, grading to sand and gravels at the lower end.  The headwaters of the chalk catchments are drained by winterbournes.    The Hampshire Avon is characterised by open chalk downland with steep scarp slopes, sheltered valleys, chalk hills, ridges and limestone plateaux.  The significant variations in the topography have a strong influence on the rivers’ response to rainfall.  The annual rainfall for the catchment varies from 833 mm on the coast to more than 1,000 mm over the upper reaches.  The land use in the catchment is predominantly rural (98%) comprising of arable, improved pasture grasslands and woodland with the exception of the River Bourne tributary which is dominated by urban areas, fisheries management, historic milling and water meadow agricultural systems.


Conservation projects on the Avon:

 

STREAM: (September 2005 – 2009) Designed to benefit the habitats of species such as Water-crowfoot, Atlantic Salmon, Brook Lamprey, Sea Lamprey, Bullhead, Desmoulin’s Whorl Snail, Gadwall duck and Berwick’s swan.

 

Living River: (2006-2010) Designed to provide better access to recreation as well as biodiversity in the river Avon.

 

Wessex Chalk Streams Project: Works with riparian landowners and managers to promote wildlife-friendly river enhancement and management of the Salisbury Avon in Wiltshire as well as associated wetlands and areas suitable for wetland restoration.

 

The Strategic Framework for Restoration of the River Avon System: The aim of the 'strategy' is to restore the River Avon to a naturally functioning and self sustaining river system that exhibits the full range of characteristic habitats that benefit the distinctive chalk stream flora and fauna.