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Everyone’s Evenlode

Water is essential to our survival, and healthy rivers provide vital habitat for wildlife to flourish. Yet if you don’t have access to a nearby river, it can be easy to not fully appreciate just how special a resource it is. Rising near Moreton-in-Marsh and running through or past attractive villages and towns including Shipton-under-Wychwood and Charlbury, the River Evenlode sweeps in a southeast direction to join the River Thames just below Cassington.

The ‘Everyone’s Evenlode’ project is enabling children, young people and members of the community to access, explore and enjoy their local river and its surroundings. We are working with local schools and communities to help inspire people to connect with their local stretch of river, learn about healthy river environments and nature, and to take positive action to care for and ecologically improve the River Evenlode.

The project in numbers, up to 31 March 2024:

Education

  • Delivered 83 sessions on the river enabling 2,082 children (5 – 15 yrs old) to experience outdoor education
  • Worked with 202 young people (16 – 25 yrs old) on river-based projects
  • From 31 schools and universities, inside and outside the catchment
  • Benefitted from 249 volunteer hours

Community Outreach

  • Engaged with 4,115 people in the community at 76 different events, including:
      • 12 guided walks
      • 22 community visits
      • 24 fairs, festivals and shows
      • 16 knowledge exchange events
      • 2 large river community event
  • Benefitted from 581 volunteer hours

An overhead image of children identifying aquatic life in sample trays.
Kids ID-ing critters as part of Wild Wednesdays at Combe Mill, summer 2023 © Jennifer Lanham

Cotswolds National Landscape is part of the Evenlode Catchment Partnership (ECP) , which brings together partners and communities to look after their river environment.

The project is helping to build community skills, understanding and find solutions to the problems that affect water quality, and develop new relationships with landowners. Together, this will help the ECP achieve its long term goal of bringing the Evenlode – a river and landscape that truly merits its place at the heart of our community – back to good ecological condition. The project is being funded by Thames Water, as part of their ‘smarter water catchment initiative’. There are four main work themes, which are being delivered in a collaborative and multi-partnered way:

    • Water quality and advocacy (delivered by Earthwatch for ECP)
    • Biodiversity, habitat, and landscape (delivered by Wild Oxfordshire for ECP)
    • Natural flood management (delivered by Wild Oxfordshire for ECP)
    • Education, access and recreation (delivered by Cotswolds National Landscape for ECP)

Downloadable resources

As part of the project, we are putting together some free, downloadable resources to help inspire people and communities to engage others in river-friendly activities and action:


Duke of Edinburgh students Pond dipping at Combe Mill ©RWJ 

The Everyone’s Evenlode team

The education, access and recreation element of the project is being delivered by the Everyone’s Evenlode team, who are:

    • Rosalind Marsden, Education Officer (3.5 days per week)
    • Rowan Wynne-Jones, Education and Community Outreach Officer (4 days per week)
    • Jennifer Lanham, Community Officer (5 days per week)

Events

As part of our engagement work, we will be taking part and offering various events across the year. These are listed below.  If you’d like to find out more about these events, the project, or would like to be involved, please email evenlode@cotswolds-nl.org.uk

When? What? Where?
17 April 2024 Guided walk Stonesfield
24 April 2024 Lunchtime talk FarmED, Shipton-under-Wychwood, OX7 6BJ
28 April 2024 Singing to the Source Moreton-in-Marsh
13 June 2024 Guided walk Charlbury
24 July, 14 August, 28 August Wild Wednesdays Combe Mill, Blenheim Palace Sawmills, Combe, Oxfordshire, OX29 8ET
21 July Wildlife by the Evenlode Combe Mill, Blenheim Palace Sawmills, Combe, Oxfordshire, OX29 8ET
August/September 2024 (date TBC) Bat evening at Blenheim Blenheim Palace grounds
12 October 2024 Oxford IF: Science and Ideas Festival Science Oxford, Headington, Oxford, OX3 8SB
March 2025 ECP exhibition event TBC

Evenlode Catchment Partnership logo          Thames Water logo