Otter Estuary timeline: hundreds of years of change

We are currently in phase four of the project: construction and implementation.

The first exploratory phase began in July 2014 and continued until late 2016. The objective of phase one was to decide whether a managed realignment project was conceptually possible and worth seriously considering for the Lower Otter Valley.

Once we believed that was the case, the initiative moved to a second phase, which involved securing funding from a range of sources to allow detailed evidenced-based investigations to be undertaken.  This phase concluded that a socially, technically, environmentally and financially acceptable solution existed to preserve and improve the Lower Otter in the face of climate change. Designs for the managed realignment scheme were developed and shared with stakeholders for comment, before the project proceeded to the third phase.

Investigations during the second phase considered: the liability presented by the old local tip situated within the floodplain; the vulnerability of adjacent cliffs to erosion; ground level surveys to understand and model inundation throughout the zone potentially influenced by proposals; options to maintain and improve public access, including South Farm Road; options to relocate the cricket club; potential health issues associated with the project; and additional technical work required to understand the impact and feasibility of project options.

The third phase involved developing detailed designs and seeking planning and other necessary consents from a variety of authorities for the agreed proposals.

Once sufficient funding was secured and regulatory approvals were granted, the fourth phase of the project involving construction and implementation started in early 2021.

The construction phase was completed by the end of 2023.

The phases of the project

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Queen’s Green Canopy

The Environment Agency, on behalf of the Lower Otter Restoration Project, has been granted a virtual plaque after planting 225 trees to form part of the Queen’s Green Canopy which marked the 2022 Platinum Jubilee.

Click here to see the plaque.

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2 January 2024: After a fascinating journey over the past few years, we are pleased to be able to say that the construction phase of the pioneering Lower Otter Restoration Project is now complete.

As a result, this website will no longer be updated, but it is our intention that it should remain available online as a publicly available source of information until the end of 2024.

To comply with data protection legislation, the project mailing list is being deleted as no fresh updates will be issued by this route.

The Lower Otter is now being managed by the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust and you can sign up for their newsletters here.

You can still email the project team and your message will be passed to the most relevant team member for a response.

On behalf of the whole team we would like to thank all those partners and members of the public who have supported us in this challenging and important project which has led to the creation of 55ha of fantastic intertidal habitat, benefiting wildlife and the community.

Residents celebrate opening of the 'Elizabeth Bridge'

24 November 2023:  The brand new 70m "Elizabeth Bridge" has been officially opened by Hon. Charles Fane Trefusis and Mark Rice, Environment Agency Area Director, marking a significant milestone for the project.

Click here to read more.

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Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the project are available here.




Environmental Statement
To see the Lower Otter Restoration Project Environmental Statement, click here.