Dyson Farming have been collaborating with the Environment Agency and Wild Trout Trust, designing a scheme on Dyson Farming land to carry out some improvement works to the Dunston Beck. The project is taking place on a 3-hectare parcel of land bounded by Dunston Fen Lane to the north, Prior Lane to the west and the Dunston Beck to the south and east.
The aim is to improve the Beck and adjacent land for the benefit of wildlife, by mitigating the historic impacts of land drainage where the Beck has been straightened, widened and deepened.
Through sensitive excavation, bends will be put back into the channel creating a variety in depths and flow patterns to filter the sands and gravels on the riverbed, improving water quality. The land alongside the beck is being lowered to different heights, allowing it to become wetter at different times according to the Beck’s water level. This creates a mosaic of habitats ranging from marshy wetland to drier meadow areas.
Seeding and planting with locally sourced, native plants and carefully managed grazing, will ensure a rich and diverse flora. In turn, this benefits insects and other invertebrates which pollinate not only wildflowers but also nearby crops.
The groundworks are starting at the beginning of February 2021 and are expected to take 4 – 6 weeks to complete. This follows several months of design and planning work. Ecological surveys have been carried out to ensure the existing wildlife on the site is not harmed. Archaeological surveys have been carried out and the works will be overseen by a specialist in this field.