Natural closed-loop system turns waste into wildlife

A series of reed beds at the School of Veterinary Sciences has provided an environmentally-enhancing and cost-effective solution to manage farm waste on the 255-acre site.

Located on the edge of the Mendips in Langford Village, the School of Veterinary Sciences and its associated Wyndhurst Dairy Farm has run-off from silage clamps and compost bays, which contain organic material that needs to be managed carefully to mitigate against any adverse effects.

Working with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), we created a set of constructed wetland sites, also known as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), which provide a natural filtration solution to treating wastewater and rainwater run-off. Alongside the reed beds are long treatment swales which have been designed to hold water in place and slow the flow of surface water from the yard.

Creating a thriving habitat for wild plants

Not only do the reed beds reduce flooding, but they're also helping to create a new hotbed of wild plant species, including wavy hair grass, meadowsweet, silverweed, hairy sedge, yellow flag, water forget-me-nots, marsh marigold and purple loosestrife.

Embedding learning about sustainable solutions

Once they've become more established, we also plan to use the reed beds to demonstrate sustainable solutions to students, as part of our commitment to embed sustainability in all our courses and programmes.

Results highlights

The reed beds have created the perfect habitat for many native plant species to thrive - helping us not only manage waste, but increase biodiversity at the same time.

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