Creating woodland, wetland and meadows at Durleigh

We’re enhancing the biodiversity value of the wetlands and surrounding land around Durleigh Reservoir, in Somerset.

About Durleigh wetlands

To the west of Durleigh Reservoir, just outside Bridgwater, Durleigh wetlands are delivering significant biodiversity and water quality improvements as we continue our industry-leading drive to find nature-based solutions to tackle some of our foremost environmental challenges.

The wetlands were created on areas of two fields previously used for arable farming and the next phase of the enhancement will see the remainder of the fields dedicated to creating a mosaic of habitats to further enhance the biodiversity of the area.

What we’re doing at Durleigh

The project, getting underway during the second half of 2024, is creating more than 1.5 hectares of lowland meadow and an additional 15 ponds and scrapes (shallow temporary ponds), while more than 4.5 hectares of trees are being planted.

These habitats will complement our previous work to realign the river, providing further permanent and seasonal ponds at the site, as well as woodland and scrub habitats and open areas of species-rich grassland.

An aerial view of Durleigh wetlands
Durleigh wetlands are being created to improve biodiversity and water quality

Initial work at the site will create a range of wetland habitats, together with a more varied landscape to help enhance the site’s habitat diversity.

Planting of woodland and meadows will be locally appropriate and reflect the different ground conditions, particularly soil moisture, across the site, with these habitats being maintained into the future.

Informed by professional surveys and advice, this work is being carried out sensitively to minimise disturbance to wildlife and people enjoying the site.

What we achieved at Durleigh in 2023

  • A total of 754 trees were planted on site, creating one of the small woodland parcels that will contribute to the wider mosaic of habitats. These are in addition to the 2,085 trees planted during 2021 and 2022.
  • Planning permission was granted for the preparation work that will create 15 ponds and diversify the landscape of the fields prior to planting, creating greater opportunities for a wide range of species.
  • Fencing was installed along a short steep section of bank, adjacent to the Durleigh Brook, to ensure the public’s safety and 160 live willow ‘rods’ were planted to help stabilise the bank structure.

Next steps at Durleigh

The initial preparation work will be completed during July and August 2024, with sowing of the meadows and tree planting taking place during autumn and early winter 2024.

A picture of the Durleigh Common Knapweed, a purple flower
Common knapweed
A picture of a Durleigh Smooth Newt
Smooth newt

Maintenance of the previously planted woodland areas will continue over the year in addition to the continued management of Himalayan balsam, an invasive non-native species.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions about our work at Durleigh, please email our Conservation team at