The cool, clear waters of Hampshire's chalk streams support a range of wonderful wildlife, but need treating with care if they are to remain healthy. In the village of Cheriton, residents are using beautiful blooms to keep their stream in good condition, with support from the Watercress and Winterbournes Landscape Partnership Scheme.
The Cheriton Conservation Volunteer Group has been planting water-loving wildflowers along the Cheriton Stream since 2017, choosing species like meadow buttercup, great burnet, and purple loosestrife. As well as bringing beauty to the village, these blooms provide food for caterpillars and pollinators, shelter for fish fry and waterfowl, and freer movement of wildlife between land and water.
Another benefit of the flowers is their role in tackling localised flooding, which unfortunately sometimes occurs in Cheriton. They help the village green to act as a miniature flood plain in times of high stream flow, holding water that would otherwise reach roads and buildings. Their roots and leaves also secure the stream banks, preventing the soil from washing away.