England

Upper River Thames conservationists bid for £2m lottery cash

Kingfisher with a fish Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Kingfishers, otters, salmon and water voles are among wildlife found along the Thames

Conservationists have launched a scheme to highlight the wildlife and history of the upper River Thames.

Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust hopes to secure £2m of Heritage Lottery Funding for the Reconnect project.

It will focus on the river from Lechlade-on-Thames, Gloucestershire, to Sandford-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, and will also look at leisure activities, including walking and fishing.

The charity will be told in October whether its bid has been successful.

Image copyright Ruth Sharville
Image caption The Reconnect project aims to highlight the wildlife, leisure and history of the river from Lechlade-on-Thames, Gloucestershire, to Sandford-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Wendy Tobitt, of Bucks, Berks and Oxon Wildlife, described the river as a "fantastic natural resource".

She said the majority of the work would involve workshops and guided walks to help "reconnect people with the Thames".

"It has a vast array of wildlife - otters, salmon, kingfishers, water voles - and we want to enable more people to see these lovely creatures," she said.

"Guided trails would give people a better idea of what is on offer, but sometimes hidden."

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Some wildlife, such as otters, often goes unnoticed along the river, the trust said

The work will also look at art and poetry, including poet Edward Thomas who wrote about the Thames and William Morris of the arts and craft movement who lived at Kelmscott Manor beside the river, as well as the area's significance during the Industrial Revolution.

"The Thames was a main transport artery for many towns - places like Lechlade grew up because of the wool trade," Ms Tobitt said.

Other groups and firms involved with the project include Thames Water, Environment Agency, Cotswold Conservation Board, as well as local authorities and history groups.

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