Gowy Connect

Water vole surveying (c) Tom MarshallWater vole surveying (c) Tom Marshall

Gowy Connect is the second stage of our first Living Landscape in the Gowy & Mersey Washlands - but what's it all about?

Joining up the jigsaw

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At first glance, 'landscape scale ecology' looks rather complicated, but in simple terms ‘joining things up like a jigsaw to enable wildlife to move around the countryside’ is perhaps a better description!

Cheshire Wildlife Trust's Gowy Connect project is all about just that, creating a landscape along the River Gowy corridor where high quality habitat is connected providing space for wildlife to disperse and recolonise.

Throughout the past 60 years the River Gowy and its associated corridor has been extensively modified in an attempt to increase and improve agricultural land using artificial flood banks, re-profiling and sluicing, reducing the river's geomorphological diversity (how the land has been shaped by natural flows and forces).

This has resulted in the degradation of habitat within the floodplain such as grazing marsh, lowland meadows, ponds and hedgerows and a reduction in the natural flood storage capacity.

Our job with the help of others including the Environment Agency and Natural England is to work with 15 landowners across 500 ha of land along the River Gowy corridor (an area more than half the size of Delamere Forest Park) to restore and re-connect habitats - enabling wildlife to thrive as well as providing resources of benefit to local people and the economy.

How you can help

It’s a big task, but with the help of landowners, volunteers and the local community we’re making good progress. We’ve got a packed programme of practical conservation work planned over the next three years of the project including fencing, hedgerow creation and restoration, scrub clearance and woodland planting as well as a suite of survey and monitoring work including protected species surveys, water quality monitoring and grassland and hedgerow surveys.

Why not take a look at what we've been doing for yourself, on one of our self-guided walks around the project area.  

Please note, from 24 October 2016, National Grid has closed permissive paths and public footpaths across Gowy Meadows until further notice.


As well as the work on the ground, providing advice is key to making a positive impact, and much of our work is involved with helping farmers to understand and make the best from the government’s own environmental stewardship schemes such as Higher Level Stewardship, providing financial support for projects such as different grazing regimes or reinstating ditches – another ‘corridor’ in the landscape.

It’s no good walking on to a farm and telling someone how to work the land they’ve been nurturing for generations, but if we can take that farmer to a ditch and say ‘did you know you have water voles living here?’ and then work through the changes they can make that won’t affect their day-to-day livelihood then there’s an opportunity to make progress.

Making a splash with local businesses

Water company United Utilities made their own commitment to the Gowy Connect scheme by supplying a brand new £20,000 4x4 truck for the duration of the project allowing us to move people and resources into the heart of a Living Landscape. So next time you’re out and about on the highways and byways of Cheshire look out for the truck and you’ll know just what we’re up to.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Gowy Connect project is supported by WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental) and the Environment Agency.





FilenameFile size
gowy_connect_newsletter_no5.pdf1.58 MB
gowy_connect_newsletter_4.pdf1.21 MB
gowy_connect_newsletter_no3.pdf1.81 MB
gowy_connect_newsletter_no2.pdf2.35 MB
gowy_connect_newsletter_no1.pdf1.92 MB
gowy_connect_newsletter_6.pdf2.08 MB
gowy_connect_newsletter_7_v2.pdf1.19 MB