The Lower Otter Restoration Project wants to work with local people and partner organisations to explore how we can preserve and improve the downstream part of the River Otter, its estuary and its immediate surroundings for future generations. We want to work with nature, rather than against it, in the face of continuing climate change.
The project is still in an early phase and is looking for further funding to progress. A number of financial and technical issues need to be addressed before the project can continue to the third phase.
Key aims of the project are likely to include:
Maintaining and securing existing public footpaths, including part of the nationally important South West Coast Path.
Securing vehicle access to South Farm residents and businesses along South Farm Road, with raising the road or a bridge being possible options.
Reconnecting the river to its floodplain allowing it to flood and drain naturally by breaching the embankments in several places. The breaches would be spanned by bridges to allow continued public access.
Stabilising the former domestic refuse tip to protect against future erosion.
Provision of new education and interpretation facilities.
An increased area of rare inter-tidal habitat with significant biodiversity benefits, including for birdlife. The Environment Agency is seeking compensatory inter-tidal habitat for that lost to coastal squeeze in sites such as the Exe Estuary which are benefiting from new flood defence initiatives. The Lower Otter Estuary has been identified as an area which may be suitable for such new habitat creation.
Working with tenant farmers to adjust existing land use to allow livelihoods to be secured, water quality to improve and biodiversity to thrive.
Schematic maps of some initial proposals can be seen here. Maps and details of four options presented at a public exhibition in Budleigh Salterton on July 5th, 2017, are available on this page. We welcome any comments.