Upper Piddle Flood Risk Management Scheme Information Page

Closes 30 Jun 2023

Opened 26 Oct 2022


Welcome to the Upper Piddle Flood Risk Management Scheme Citizen Space information page.

The Upper Piddle Catchment Flood Risk Management Scheme aims to reduce flood risk to properties and infrastructure in the upper catchment of the River Piddle on the Dorset downs.

There is a high level of flood risk within the Piddle Valley which is expected to increase due to climate change. There is a long history of flooding in the valley from the river, groundwater, and surface water.

Currently, the Upper Piddle valley does not have a flood risk management scheme. Following an assessment of the flood risk to the Piddle Valley by the Environment Agency, a series of options have been developed.

The scheme proposes the combined use of natural flood management (NFM) techniques, engineered solutions and measures that will reduce risk to property. A project will be led by the Environment Agency and its partners, which will explore a combination of these options for reducing the flood risk to the Piddle Valley.

We would like to use local knowledge to inform our decision making and work with all stakeholders including the local community. By working with our stakeholders, we will establish the best combination to ensure sustainable local growth and make the Piddle Valley a more resilient place to a changing climate.

Thanks to everyone who attended our first community drop-in event at Piddletrenthide on the 17 November 2022.  We will be holding another drop-in in late 2023 as the scheme progresses (date TBC).

We have created these pages to provide easy access to information on the scheme. 

Flooding in Puddletown - 2014Caption: Flooding in Puddletown - 2014

Background-Flood Risk to the Piddle Valley There are approximately 68 properties at risk of flooding in the Piddle Valley. This could rise based on future climate change scenarios. The River Piddle catchment lies within the Dorset Downs.
The upper catchment area between Alton Pancras and Puddletown is referred to as “Piddle Valley”. There are two key features of the catchment that can lead to flooding. These are the steep valleys and the permeable (spongy) chalk bedrock. The steep sloping hills respond quickly to rainfall. The surface water which runs down from the hills can cause flooding in the valley. The fractured chalk of the Piddle Valley is highly permeable.
This means it absorbs rainfall which in turn feeds the groundwater supplies. The groundwater supplies increase every time it rains. In turn, the groundwater supply feeds into the River Piddle and causes river levels to increase. The historic use and modification of the river and its floodplain may also be a cause of some of the flood risk in Puddletown. There have been numerous well recorded instances of flooding in the valley and there is a long history of flooding from the river, groundwater, and surface water.
For more information on your flood risk visit www.gov.uk/flood or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188
Map of the River Piddle Flood Risk Management Scheme study area

Caption: Map of the River Piddle Flood Risk Management Scheme study area

The project, led by the Environment Agency and its partners, will build on the natural flood management work previously undertaken by the partnership between:
• Dorset Council (DC)
• The Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG)
• Dorset Area of Natural Beauty (Dorset AONB)
• The Environment Agency.
The partnership has already worked to create wetlands and plant hedges in the Plush and Alton Pancras areas. FWAG have worked with local farmers to encourage more flood resilient farming techniques. Wessex Water have carried out work across the Piddle Valley to reduce infiltration. The project will take this vital work one step further to deliver a scheme that reduces flood risk to the Upper Piddle area.
Importantly, the project is also an opportunity to secure wider environmental improvements. New wild areas will be created, and the health of the Piddle Valley’s rivers, streams and wetlands will be improved. By enhancing the biodiversity and amenity value of the Piddle Valley, the scheme aims to create a much more habitat enriched area for residents and visitors.
Beside the scheme, we also want to improve awareness and understanding of the local flood risk. We want to ensure the community understands their responsibility and the actions they can take to improve their resilience to flooding.
Flooding in Puddletown- 2014

Caption: Map of the River Piddle Flood Risk Management Scheme study area

An assessment of a viable flood risk management scheme was completed in May 2022. The assessment presented a case for flood risk management in the Upper Piddle catchment by providing interventions to intercept and reduce the force of flows.
The options proposed as part of the assessment include 250 natural flood management interventions to address a range of sources and types of flooding in the Upper Piddle. The scheme considers options which work with natural processes such as allowing rivers to meander and reconnecting rivers to the floodplain.
Other natural flood management measures could be used including creating wetlands and leaky dams. The final natural flood management measures will help to reduce and slow peaks of surface and river water which follow intense rainfall.
By slowing the flow, the frequency and damage of flooding is reduced. By using a combination of natural flood management techniques and engineered options (such as flood defences), the Environment Agency will be working to deliver its targets of reducing carbon, increasing biodiversity and preventing deterioration of aquatic ecosystems (including groundwater).

We want to work with you, our stakeholders, to help us decide on the design and interventions needed to reduce the flood risk to the Piddle Valley. We will need the assistance of residents, landowners, and farmers with the gathering of data and information.

For the first stage, we would like to gather information on the source of flooding and where it is flowing.

Over any upcoming wet periods, we will need to know where tiny streams are forming and where springs are starting. This is known as flowpath information. A flowpath is the route heavy rainwater takes overland on its way to the floodplain or river.

You can gather this information during, for instance, a dog walk after a heavy shower or whenever you notice water flows that only form in heavy rainfall.

We would like you to take photographs of any streams or run-off water and share these with us, alongside the location information, through our data collection mailbox: riverpiddlefrms@environment-agency.gov.uk

If you have historic or anecdotal information please also share it with us.

We will also be working with local farmers throughout the winter to monitor flows.

Information page on the Upper Piddle Flood Risk Management Scheme



  • Members of the public


  • Flood management
  • Coastal management