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Section of footpath closes for archaeological work

April 6, 2021: A section of the western footpath at the Otter Estuary will be closed for archaeological investigations.
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The case for the Lower Otter Restoration Project

We’ve put together a briefing note for councillors and other stakeholders about the project, its background and what it hopes to achieve.
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The Lower Otter Restoration Project in the media

Otter Estuary project offers ‘multiple benefits’

Preserving beauty of the South West Coast Path

Estate considers valley flooding retreat plan

2 May 2015: Support from the public will be a major help to a project planning big changes to the Otter Estuary, the proposers have said.
Exmouth Journal

28 July 2014: At this time of year, whilst walking along the South West Coast Path, you can’t help but be struck by the beauty of nature.
Western Morning News

Read more:

Follow us: @WMNNews on Twitter | westernmorningnews on Facebook
Exmouth Journal

Exmouth Journal

8 September 2010: An east Devon estate may have to make a managed retreat from some land because of future rising water levels, it says.
BBC News

Town’s cricket club would have to find a new home

26 October 2014: Plans to allow the River Otter to reclaim more of its natural flood plain have moved a step forward following public consultations.
Express & Echo

River Otter plan: ‘Low risk’ of pollution

30 November 2015: The risk of ‘toxic’ landfill substances being released by plans to revamp the Otter Estuary is ‘low’, and more surveys will be carried out.
Exmouth Journal

Budleigh Salterton: Meeting to discuss cycle path

6 July 2015: Budleigh Salterton residents facing the prospect of a cycle track being built behind their homes are hopeful their concerns will be listened to.
Exmouth Journal

Otter flooding project: funds to be sought

24 October 2016: A controversial project which could see the Otter Valley flooded may have moved a step closer.
Exmouth Journal

Otter flood project: ‘No significant
cliff impact’

01 November 2016: A report has been published exploring the possible effects of the Lower Otter Restoration Project on cliffs in Budleigh Salterton.
Exmouth Journal

Budleigh residents to have say on Otter project

30 May 2017: Budleigh residents will have a chance to have their say on controversial plans which could see the reintroduction of tidal flooding to the River Otter. Exmouth Journal

'Catastrophic breach' could happen

1 June 2017: A plan to restore the estuary around the River Otter to stop a 'catastrophic breach' of the 200-year-old sea defences is being formulated.
Devon Live

Restoring East Devon river to stop 'catastrophic failure'

8 July 2017: Full scale restoration of the River Otter could cost up to £40million it has been revealed. It is one of four options at a public exhibition. DevonLive

River Otter realignment could cost up to £40m

10 July 2017: The cost of a project to secure the future of the Lower Otter Estuary could rise to as much as £40million, according to new plans. Exmouth Journal

Restoration Project now applying for funding

7 August 2018: The £8-9 million scheme will restore floodplain, create habitats, maintain the footpath and more for the estuary in East Devon.

Agency back £9m scheme to protect defences

6 August 2018: The Environment Agency have said that they are ‘completely committed’ to a £9m scheme to help restore the River Otter.

Agency completely committed to £9million project

7 August 2018: The Environment Agency has announced it is ‘completely committed’ to a £9million project to restore the River Otter.
Exmouth Journal

Funding bid for River Otter project is rejected

24 April 2018: A funding bid for a project that could help avoid a ‘catastrophic breach’ of the sea defences in Budleigh has been rejected.

River project to turn clock back 200 years

14 June 2018: The Lower Otter Restoration Project (LORP) has revealed its latest plans for the estuary as part of proposals to restore it to its historic channels.
Exmouth Journal

Agency committed to £9m River Otter anti-flood scheme

6 August 2018: The Environment Agency says it is "completely committed" to a £9m scheme to help restore the River Otter in Budleigh Salterton.
BBC News

East Devon Project Now Applying for Funding

8 August 2018: The Environment Agency recently confirmed its commitment to the Lower Otter Restoration Project while applications for funding grants are made.
Dredging Today

Cricket Club get encouraging news about relocation

18 November 2018: Clinton Devon Estates as landowners and partners in the LORP were now progressing a planning application…for a potential new home for the club.
Exmouth Journal


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Older News

Budleigh Salterton CC could be set
for new home

22 November 2018: Flood woes could be a thing of the past for Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club after it was revealed it could move to land near East Budleigh.
Exmouth Journal

Plans submitted
for cricket club's new home

26 February 2019: Plans which would see Budleigh Salterton's cricket club relocated have been submitted.
Exmouth Journal

Plans for new home for cricket club revealed

12 March 2019: After nearly 100 years at their Ottermouth home, Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club could be on the move.
Devon Live

Floods force
Devon outfit
into relocating

15 August 2019: Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club are set to relocate as part of a £9m scheme to help restore the River Otter.
The Cricketer

Exmouth Journal

Flood-threatened cricket club’s
plans approved

10 January 2020: Budleigh Cricket Club's move away from its flood-threatened home is a step closer after plans were green-lit.
Exmouth Journal

Otter estuary will be flooded after plans approved

£15m plan to restore flood plains approved

6 January 2021: Councillors have unanimously backed plans to restore the Otter Estuary to its natural and historic flood plains.
Devon Live

7 January 2021: A £15m plan to restore the historic flood plains of a Devon estuary have been given the go-ahead.
BBC News

Preparatory work on the Lower Otter Restoration Project to get under way on the ground

March 10, 2021: Following the unanimous support of East Devon District Council's planning committee for the Lower Otter Restoration Project, more preparatory work has been going on behind the scenes.

In recent weeks archaeological surveys have been undertaken at the site of the proposed new cricket ground off the B3178 East Budleigh Road and at the locations of what will be temporary works compounds.

The results of these surveys will be shared with the public in due course once any finds have been analysed.

In addition, the location of key notable plant species that will be translocated as part of the scheme have been marked out - look out for wooden stakes with their tops painted red!

The first major activity the public will see will be from mid-March when ground investigation works will be undertaken. These will involve mobile drilling rigs and excavators digging cores and trial pits across the site. Access of machinery will be via temporary aluminium tracks. This work is due to last about six weeks.

These ground investigations will obtain geotechnical, archaeological, buried utility and highway construction information. This work is being undertaken by the Environment Agency's contractor Kier and is part of the preparation for the main scheme, which is due to start in May/June.

Updates on this work will be shared on the social media channels of project partners including the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, Clinton Devon Estates and others.

Environmental monitoring will include habitat creation, wading birds, physical changes to the valley, carbon storage, marine and freshwater fish. Studies will also evaluate the success of mitigation planned to replace those habitats that will be lost and the long-term socio-economic impact of the scheme.

Please keep an eye out for future updates if you would like to find out how you could play a part in monitoring the project's environmental success.

Works timetable:

This will involve:

If you have any questions or comments about these site works, please contact Kier's Public Liaison Officer Jayne Johnson by email, at or for urgent matters call 07716 223056.

Click here to download a PDF of the Ground Investigation information leaflet.

Project PACCo

Climate change is real and is impacting on society worldwide. The Lower Otter Restoration Project is part of a wider international scheme funded by the European Interreg VA France Channel England programme called Promoting Adaptation to Changing Coasts (PACCo).

Together with a sister project in the Saâne Valley, Normandy (France), PACCo's aim is to highlight the impacts of climate change on coastal communities and to demonstrate that pre-emptive adaptation to climate change is far better and less costly to society than inaction.

The lower Otter and Saâne valleys hope to lead the way in showing how communities can evaluate climate change risk and adapt to current and future risks and highlight the benefits that might result from doing so.

A PACCo website and social media platforms will be launched very soon and this information together with regular updates throughout the project will be shared in local print and social media as well as through on-site interpretation. Engagement will also be face-to face as soon as it is safe to do so.

Lower Otter Restoration Project unanimously approved by East Devon councillors

January 6, 2021: A landscape-scale project to address the impact of climate change by returning a Devon estuary and flood plain to a more natural condition has been supported by councillors.

Embankments built more than 200 years ago to reclaim land from the Lower Otter estuary at Budleigh Salterton are now failing in the face of rising sea levels and more extreme weather conditions.

The benefits of the proposals include the creation of new areas of intertidal habitats, mudflats and saltmarsh which provide a home for numerous rare and endangered native and migratory species.

This timely initiative will deliver key Government objectives set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan and Environment Bill going before Parliament this year.

Landowner Clinton Devon Estates and the Estate's Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, responsible for managing the area, forged a partnership with the Environment Agency to form the Lower Otter Restoration Project to explore ways of managing and funding the project, working alongside a wide-ranging group of other local stakeholders.  The Estate had been investigating options for the floodplain since 2003 and commissioned a number of studies.

As well as recreating the former habitats, it was important to maintain public access to the much-loved estuary, particularly as the nationally important South West Coast Path now runs along the top of the 200-year-old embankments.

The Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club's Ottermouth ground, an important community and regional asset, will be re-located on Estate land as part of this project.  The club has often, over many years, been badly hit by flooding.

Ideas on how the project might proceed were shared with the public over a number of years before a planning application was submitted by the Environment Agency at the end of 2020. The application was supported by a wide range of conservation and other bodies including the RSPB, Natural England, the Jurassic Coast Trust and the Devon Wildlife Trust.

Now members of East District Council's planning committee have voted to support the proposals.

John Varley, Estates Director of Clinton Devon Estates, said: "This approval paves the way for a major landscape-scale project which has come about because of an exemplary public-private partnership which will benefit people, the environment and wildlife.

"It demonstrates that rural estates can play a key role in addressing the climate crisis, leading the way in respect of a number of national agendas including nature recovery, creating new habitats and delivering a net gain in biodiversity, on a landscape scale.

"As the eyes of the world will be on Britain as hosts the UN Climate Change Conference COP 26 in November, this project shows we are prepared to act now to address the challenges we all face."

Dr Sam Bridgewater, Head of Wildlife and Conservation at Clinton Devon Estates, said: "The Estate is proud to be associated with this project. It is recognised nationally and internationally that coastal communities must adapt as sea levels rise and storm events become more frequent.

"It is our belief that the Lower Otter Restoration Project will provide a more sustainable and certain future for the threatened Otter valley. It will also deliver very significant benefits to people and wildlife in the long term.

"The granting of planning approval is a major step forward in helping us deliver this vision.  We have worked very closely with a wide range of stakeholders who have helped us reach this milestone and we are grateful for their input over the years."

Mark Rice, Environment Manager for the Environment Agency, said: "Climate change is affecting the way we manage our coasts and estuaries and we must adapt to that change. The Lower Otter Restoration Project is an example of how we can do that. We aim to deliver long term benefits for people and wildlife by working in partnership and through more sustainable management of the Otter Estuary."

Planning approval means work on the project can start this spring and be completed in 2023.

The Lower Otter Restoration Project is part of a wider Project PACCo - Promoting Adaptation to Changing Coasts - which will receive €17.8m from the Interreg VA France (Channel) England programme.

Please also see an Environment Agency news release here.

Funding boost as Lower Otter Restoration Project proposals revealed

June 11, 2020: Proposals to restore the Otter Estuary to a more natural condition, closer to that which existed two hundred years ago, will be submitted to East Devon District councillors later this year following the approval of a major funding bid.

The Lower Otter Restoration Project has been awarded around £8.5 million as part of Project PACCo – Promoting Adaptation to Changing Coasts. The Otter Estuary is one of two pilot sites for PACCo: the other is in the Saâne Valley in Normandy.

PACCo has a budget of €25.7m, including €17.8m from the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme.

The funding will support the Lower Otter Restoration Project’s aims of climate change adaptation by working with natural processes to provide benefits for people and wildlife. Sea defences at the mouth of the River Otter, built 200 years ago to claim fresh farmland from the sea, along with other man-made alterations to the river over the centuries, mean the Otter is no longer as naturally connected with its floodplain as it once was.

The Lower Otter Restoration Project was conceived in 2013 to recreate a more ecologically healthy environment in the face of more extreme weather conditions and rising sea levels expected under climate change. There is a significant risk that a major flood or extreme tidal event could lead to catastrophic failure of embankments, with unpredictable environmental and social impacts. Recent years have seen part of the South West Coast Path that runs along the embankments closed to the public for significant periods due to erosion caused by such events.

Funding for the £12 million Lower Otter Restoration Project is also being provided by landowners Clinton Devon Estates and the Environment Agency.

Dr Sam Bridgewater, head of Wildlife and Conservation at Clinton Devon Estates, said: “The European funding approval is a major milestone for the project and we are on the verge of another as we are submitting our final planning application to East Devon District Council for consideration.

“Before the coronavirus emergency we had planned to hold an exhibition in Budleigh Salterton so that local people could see the latest proposals. Because that’s no longer possible we will host a virtual exhibition on the project website once the planning application documents are ready.

“To reach this point the project partners have consulted extensively with the local community over the last seven years, with their input and responses helping us shape the direction of the restoration project.

“To continue with this community involvement, we would like as many people as possible to visit the online exhibition. Together with the Environment Agency we will be happy to answer any questions people may have about the planning application and proposals.

“East Devon District Council, the local planning authority, will consider the views of local people as part of its normal planning process, which will include formal means to comment on the application. The proposals will also be available to view on the council’s planning website in due course.

“If the council approves the proposals, we will be able to give a clearer idea of when the construction would be likely to start and finish - at the moment we think it would take about two years.”

The benefits of the project include:

 A more ecologically healthy estuary by reconnecting the river to its floodplain

 The creation of approximately 60 hectares of rare inter-tidal and wetland habitat which would attract a wide range of wildlife

 Improved public access, including securing the future of the South West Coast Path along its current route

 Preventing potential pollution from a former landfill tip through erosion

 Securing access for nearby residents and businesses, particularly along South Farm Road

 Securing a long-term future for Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club.

Dr Bridgewater added: “We already have planning permission to provide a new home for Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club, off East Budleigh Road. The existing Ottermouth facilities are frequently impacted by flooding. We will be in a position to implement this move if permission is also approved for the wider project.

“The wider PACCo initiative is also supporting similar proposals in the Saâne Valley in Normandy working with three French partner organisations.

“As the projects develop, we hope that other coastal areas facing similar issues will be able to learn from the work we have done and better understand their own options in the face of a rapidly changing climate.”

Mike Williams, from the Environment Agency, said: “PACCo is an extremely exciting project, which will deliver real benefits for people and wildlife on the ground, and help others to build on our success elsewhere. We must all find ways of adapting to climate change if we are to manage our estuaries and coasts successfully in the future.”

Section of footpath closes for archaeological work

A section of the western footpath at the Otter Estuary will be closed between 12-16 April for archaeological investigations ahead of the Lower Otter Restoration Project, then again between 4 May and the end of 2022 for the duration of the main scheme.

This closure only affects a short section nearest South Farm Road. It has been decided to keep the rest of the path open, which means that for the duration of the works this will be an ‘out and back’ route from Granary Lane. The northward section from South Farm Road towards Pulhayes Farm will remain open and all other routes are unaffected.

Throughout the project the eastern footpath (South West Coast Path) will remain open to allow access up the Otter Valley, although a short section of this footpath will be temporarily diverted to the north of the cricket club when construction works on the new footbridge northeast of Lime Kiln car park is carried out.

There will be temporary closures to some of the other Public Rights of Way during the work but any diversions or closures will be signed in advance.