The Thame Catchment Partnership is jointly hosted by the River Thame Conservation Trust and Freshwater Habitats Trust. Together, we’re working for a healthy river catchment, valued and enjoyed by local people.

The River Thame catchment

The Thame catchment is more than 680 square kilometres, with 340 kilometres length of waterway. The catchment straddles Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, also going over the Hertfordshire border near Tring.  Land use is predominantly agricultural with a few protected areas within its valley including a small number of SSSI’s along the Chilterns escarpment and the Shabbington wood complex.

The River Thame, along with its associated waterbodies, is among the most degraded catchments in the Thames River Basin. Pollution from rural sewage treatment works and agricultural sources, and the lack of high quality habitat for wildlife in the floodplain are major issues affecting biodiversity.

With its historic floodplains and wetlands, Oxfordshire has been identified as an Important Freshwater Landscape in the Freshwater Network. Through the River Thame Catchment Partnership, we’re working with partners to restore and create freshwater habitats here.

Aerial view of valley with a river

- The Waddesdon estate in Buckinghamshire, where Freshwater Habitats Trust and River Thame Conservation Trust have created new habitats for freshwater wildlife.

What is the River Thame Catchment Partnership?

The River Thame Catchment Partnership is a collaborative body, jointly hosted by River Thame Conservation Trust and  Freshwater Habitats Trust, supported by funding from Defra and Thames Water.

The partnership brings together organisations and individuals whose activities and responsibilities have a bearing on the River Thame catchment and its freshwaters. The partnership was set up in 2017 as part of the Government-supported initiative, the Catchment Based Approach.

The remit of the Thame Catchment Partnership

The Partnership will take an interest over the whole river catchment, from the tiny trickling headwaters, to the expansive floodplains of the main river, all the tributary streams and myriad of small waters comprising of ponds, fens and other wetlands.

Our interest is not only in the freshwater habitats, but also the land, land use, and human activity within the catchment in terms of how affects the water environment.

The Catchment Plan

The Catchment Plan is the framework document that underpins the Partnership’s work. It outlines the vision, aspirations and goals for improvement to the freshwater environment in the River Thame catchment.

This StoryMap is a publicly available, interactive, and visual version of that plan.

View the Catchment Plan
Woman (centre) and two men standing up talking in front of a screen displaying the words 'Water conference'

- Hannah Worker of Freshwater Habitats Trust (centre) with attendees at the Water Conference 2022. Photo: River Thame Conservation Trust

The aims of the River Thame Catchment partnership

1 Learn more about wildlife and habitats

Increase our understanding of the freshwater habitats and species of the Thame.

2 Improve water quality

Tackle point source and diffuse pollution sources, such as agriculture and septic tank effluent.

3 Enhance biodiversity

Carry out habitat creation and restoration projects in all freshwater habitats.

4 Improve knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the freshwater environment

Engage with local people and increase the catchment’s recognition in local planning frameworks.

The partnership

The River Thame Catchment Partnership seeks to protect and improve all freshwaters in the catchment, including the River Thame, tributaries, headwaters, floodplain, lakes, ponds and ditches. All these different habitats are important for freshwater wildlife due to the variety in habitat they offer and the network they created across the landscape.

The partnership is an informal grouping of organisations and individuals working to protect and improve the freshwater environment in the River Thame catchment. The catchment hosts are Freshwater Habitats Trust and River Thame Conservation Trust.

The partnership also includes:

  • Upper Thames Fisheries Consultative
  • Local community groups and local residents including: Cuttle Brook Volunteers, Watlington Environment Group, Doug Kennedy, Nick Marriner.

Our work in the River Thame Catchment

Discover more about the practical work we’re carrying out through the River Thame Catchment Partnership.

Aerial view of field with a digger next to large holes
Manor Farm wetland creation

We’ve created wetland mosaic habitat to increase freshwater biodiversity on a farm in Buckinghamshire.

Find out more
Group of people walking down a hill through a field, with a large pond behind.
Waddesdon Wetland Creation

Freshwater plants and animals are benefiting from a two-hectare wetland creation project on the floodplain of the River Thame.

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Group of people standing in a field.

Volunteers are helping us to restore Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire’s freshwater habitats – by growing rare plants at home.

Find out more