Funding success for Watercress and Winterbournes

River Itchen at Winnall Moors Nature Reserve © HIWWT

We are delighted to announce that our Landscape Partnership Scheme, Watercress and Winterbournes, has been awarded £1,937,800 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

A partnership of 15 organisations, including Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, has secured just under £2 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The funding will be used to deliver a five-year Landscape Partnership Scheme called Watercress and Winterbournes, which will see the partners work closely with
local communities to restore and celebrate seven chalk streams. These are the Bourne Rivulet, Candover Brook, Cheriton Stream, Pillhill Brook, River Arle, Upper Anton, and Upper Test.

The Rivers Test and Itchen are iconic features of the Hampshire landscape, but the chalk streams that give them life are among its greatest hidden treasures. These globally scarce environments are home to species like water vole, brown trout, and white-clawed crayfish, and have inspired a rich cultural heritage. Unfortunately, these special waters face increasing pressure from issues like pollution, loss of habitat, and poor land management.

After two years of development, the partners have been awarded £1,937,800 of National Lottery funding to undertake a wide range of activities. These include enhancing habitats, protecting rare species, repairing historic structures, and tackling pressures like flooding. Community members have played a central role in shaping the scheme and will be at the heart of its delivery. With training and support from the partners, residents will be empowered to safeguard their streams for many years to come.

We would like to thank all the people who gave their time, energy, and expertise to help make this funding application a success. Our thanks also the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their continued advice and support.

Kingfishers © Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

Kingfishers © Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

The scheme will be jointly led by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and Wessex Rivers Trust, and delivered in partnership with:

  • Cheriton Conservation Group
  • Country Land and Business Association
  • Environment Agency
  • Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust
  • Hampshire County Council
  • NFU Watercress Association
  • Natural England
  • Salmon and Trout Conservation UK
  • South Downs National Park Authority
  • Southern Water
  • Test and Itchen Association
  • Vitacress
  • Wild Trout Trust
heritage, watercress and winterbourne

Industrial chalk stream heritage © HIWWT

Debbie Tann, Chief Executive of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted to be delivering this fantastic scheme, which will have real benefits for both people and wildlife. We look forward to working closely with our partners, and with the communities in the area, to ensure we achieve real and lasting change for these precious chalk stream environments.”

Martijn Antheunisse, Chief Executive of Wessex Rivers Trust, said: “We are very excited to be involved in this scheme. The work on the ground together with the local communities will be transformative for winterbourne chalk streams in the area – it is truly a once in a generation opportunity to get things right and boost local
biodiversity.”

Stuart McLeod, Director London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Nature is our oldest form of heritage and helping the natural world to recover and thrive is a key priority for National Lottery funding. We are delighted to support this scheme which will involve communities and partners in securing a bright future
for our rare chalk streams, the wildlife they support and their surrounding landscapes.”

Learn more about Watercress and Winterbournes