Geographically related to the walking routes in the Luzborough Wood The Ashfield Estate has created a set of wetlands along the watercourse that runs westwards and down towards the River Test. Many new housing schemes across the country have been, and are still being, held up by requirements to achieve ‘nutrient neutrality’. In this case not only is The Estate very keen to improve the catchment of The River Test it has used its hinterland to meet the challenge.

The wetlands are created by leaky dams not dissimilar to those resulting from the activity of beavers. The flow of water is slowed down and at the same time filtered. This achieves nutrient neutrality but it also has benefits for downstream flooding. At times of high rainfall the run off from previous developments just upstream, which were not engineered with sustainable urban drainage schemes, results in a surge of surface water which the wetlands can now moderate to advantage.

The third benefit of the wetlands is an improved habitat for a variety of species of flora and fauna. This will require management over time as well as observation to be able to gauge the extent of net biodiversity gain.