River Torne Catchment Partnership


Contact Information

Catchment Host

Yorkshire Wildife Trust


Mike Jones


07795 644126




Potteric Carr Nature Reserve
Mallard Way


Our Hard Working River


The Isle of Axeholme Catchment covers a wide geographic area, spanning multiple districts, four counties and two regions. Due to the range of complex issues and competing priorities in the area, catchment is split into two sub-catchments.  The River Torne catchment partnership, is hosted by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, while the River Idle, and is hosted by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

The River Torne Catchment

The Torne starts near Sandbeck Hall in Maltby, South Yorkshire and reaches its confluence with the river Trent in Keadby, North Lincolnshire. Human influence on the Torne spans almost four centuries; as far back as 1628, work began to re-engineer the river, draining the land to increase its availability for agriculture, starting its long service in the aid of humanity’s social and economic development.

Today, the River Torne sub-catchment covers a total of 520km2, a vital collection of water bodies that provide drainage and flood protection for industry, agriculture, homes, and businesses across parts of South Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. This functionality is central to our vision for the catchment; serving as a mechanism to engage with this diverse range of stakeholders to raise awareness about the importance of effective water body management.

The Torne Catchment Partnership (CaBA)

Our CaBA partnership has been fully established since 2016. Our partnership is made up of environmental non-government organisations (NGOs), local authorities, government agencies, landowner representatives and farmer representative bodies and is hosted by us at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. We work together to deliver a wide range of projects across the catchment to meet our vision and our key aims.

Our vision

Our vision is for a thriving river with a catchment abundant in wildlife, providing a better-quality environment for people to live, work and visit.

Our key aims

  • Ensure a resilient catchment through community engagement and promoting integrated, sustainable land management which benefits the rural economy.
  • Improve water level management, reducing flood risk and preserving water resources.
  • Secure better soil conservation and water quality.
  • Create extensive habitat connectivity and species resilience.

Our Current Projects

Let’s be Fens! 2020 to 2027

Where: River Torne at the Betwixt Fen near Doncaster, South Yorkshire

National Grid Reference: SK 62459 99094

What: To reinstate fenland habitat within the central floodplain (situated between the Mother Drain and River Torne) by improving channel-floodplain connectivity to facilitate the regular inundation of the central floodplain and restore waterlogged conditions and the fenland habitat.

Aims: To improve water quality for the river Torne and Mother Drain; create areas of wetland habitat with flood storage capacity, which will provide habitat for numerous wetland species; decrease river uniformity and provide diverse instream habitats.  It will; restore unused poor grassland to wetland/fen and create habitat on a landscape scale approach that provides habitat corridors and connectivity to the Potteric Carr SSSI.

The project also has a community engagement element, working with five primary schools who will participate in the Eco Water Warriors scheme, educating primary school children on the importance of river restoration and conservation.

The ‘Let’s be Fens’ project is a partnership between Yorkshire Wildlife Trust – lead partner, the Environment Agency and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council. The partnership aims to deliver multiple river restoration works and create or restore wetland habitats next to the River Torne and Mother Drain over the next 3 years.

Over the next 3 years, YWT will deliver a targeted programme of habitat improvement and where possible restoration of the natural geomorphological functionality of the River Torne.

To get involved in this project and the Torne Catchment Partnership please contact mike.jones@ywt.org.uk

Our previous projects

SuDS in schools 2017 - 2019

What: A large scale engagement project within the Torne Catchment educating and engaging local primary and secondary schools about the Torne’s heritage and the water environment. Additionally retrofitting six SuDS schemes within schools involving school children whilst providing a green learning environment and flood and water quality benefits.

“Last we went pond dipping and back to the education centre, it was a lot of fun.” Blake – Wroot Travis Primary School.

Where: (site, catchment, river basin): Sites included Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, Grange Lane Primary School, Tornedale Infants, Wroot Travis Primary School, Hungerhill Primary School, St. Mary’s Primary School, Tickhill Primary School, Maltby Redwood Academy.


  • 225 adults engaged through community talks and presentations to groups such as Tickhill horticultural society, Doncaster Naturalists and Doncaster Rotary club.
  • 1537 school children engaged in the water cycle, their local river, and the wildlife reliant on it.
  • 856 volunteer hours from family and friends of schools involved, National Citizen Service and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust volunteers.
  • Six SuDS delivered SuDS with 12 interventions at schools within the catchment e.g. formal raised planters, sunken rain gardens, water butts, woodland planting and ponds.
  • Improved water quality and flood resilience within the catchment.
  • Increased awareness of the heritage of the Torne, past and present.

Papermill Dyke 2017/18

What: The project restored 2ha of wet woodland to flow from the surrounding drainage and create an offline wetland scrape capable of storing river water during high flow and creating a significant area of wetland habitat in the process.

You have done a great job with Snipe Bog – it should develop into an excellent habitat. I do hope you can manage something like it near the A1 (M).”  Tony Sheridan – Tickhill Countryside Group.

Where: Papermill Dyke GB104028058370


  • 83 volunteer hours realised.
  • 2ha of wetwood reconnected to a local stream.
  • An 0.6ha offline scrape was created, designed to take flow from the river during heavy rainfall events and create a significant wetland habitat in the area.
  • Woodland coppicing of old willow and birch stands to add to the age structure of the woodland and the creation of standing deadwood to benefit the rapidly declining willow tit recorded at adjacent sites.

Funded by: The Environment Agency

iWAIT 2016/2017

What: Partnership project with multiple outcomes including restoration of 46.5ha of wet woodland, natural flood risk benefits, education and community engagement.

‘That’s the first time in over forty years that piece of woodland has had any water in it.’ (Local resident referring to Sandall Beat SSSI)

Where: Sites include Sandall Beat SSSI; Holme Carr Wood; Bog Wood; Tickhill Low Common; Bessacarr Bank; Piper Marsh SSSI; and Rossington Brick Pond.

What: The iWAIT project built on work delivered by Torne Catchment Partnership reconnecting up to 2000m3 of floodplain storage at Sandall Beat SSSI in Doncaster in 2015/16. Delivering multiple benefits including restoration of 2ha of wet woodland, water quality improvements, engagement with local communities and volunteer groups, education around water issues with schoolchildren.

By targeting natural flood risk management techniques and providing additional flood storage in the upstream part of the catchment we were able to help attenuate both peak and flood flows from rainfall events, providing dual benefits. Firstly, by reducing the risk of flood risk to property and agricultural land within the catchment by making more space for water.  Secondly, by reducing both the financial and carbon cost of pumping water from the Torne catchment into the River Trent.

Using desk top analysis (including reviewing LIDAR data), the project objective is to deliver a minimum of 46.5ha of wet woodland recreation or restoration that delivers over 4,000m3 of additional flood storage capacity.


  • 5ha Priority habitat created.
  • 4,078m3 flood storage volume realised.
  • Seven schools engaged.
  • 600 pupils engaged with the project.
  • Three SuDS schemes retrofitted.
  • Five community groups supported.
  • 1200 volunteer hours realised.
  • Natural Flood Management Regional Conference delivered.
  • Two SSSI’s improved.

Funded by: The Environment Agency

Reducing diffuse pollution in Papermill Dyke

“I was impressed by the level of support from farmers locally giving up some of their own time and effort to contribute to the works improving the condition of the stream.” – Jamie McEwan Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Where: Stainton, Doncaster

National Grid Reference: SK 59154 92329, SK 55866 93631

What: This project aimed to address rural diffuse pollution within the papermill dyke. Priority sites were identified by the Sandbeck Estate Scoping report and aimed to deliver a suite of works aimed at improving water quality at target sites.

This involved working with the Sandbeck Estate and tenant farmers to help improve farming practices and deliver small scale habitat creation interventions on their land including fencing to protect riverbanks from poaching by livestock and allow more sensitive management of habitats.

Example of river bank protection from livestock wit fencing

One year after fencing and an increase in native flora


  • Worked with Sandbeck Estate and two tenant farmers.
  • Carried out 400m of river habitat restoration.
  • 16ha of wet woodland created – 60 trees planted
  • 580m of fencing installed.
  • One limestone spring flush restored.
  • 75ha of floodplain fen restored.
  • 150m of native species hedge planted.


  • Improved farming practices.
  • Improved community interest.
  • Reduced livestock poaching, sediment and chemical inputs.
  • Habitat improvements for wildlife.

Funded by: The Environment Agency

Sandall Beat Wood 2015/2016

Rewetting Sandall Beat Wood

So nice to see Sandall beat wood looking like it used to all those years ago, brings back great memories for so many locals and a big thank you to all the volunteers. Now it’s the public’s turn to keep the woods clean and report people who litter and damage this lovely nature reserve.” – Adrian Barker (woodland user)

Where: Intake, Doncaster

National Grid Reference: SE 61489 03261

What: A report commissioned by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council analysed water levels in the drains of Sandall Beat and Cantley Park. Except for the two main drainage channels none of the drains were found to have any water present at any time. This has an impact on the sites Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) status. Water quality issues were also noted, with road and roof drainage discharged at the pumping station at the head of Fore’s Drain likely to be the cause. The report indicated that cross connection of domestic wastewater into roof gulleys could account for some of the water quality issues.

Urban diffuse pollution at Sandall Beat and Cantley Park was targeted by improving water flow and creating new wetland habitat to the benefit of water quality in Fores drain. The project engaged local communities, highlighting urban diffuse pollution issues and solutions, through a volunteer survey programme and an interpretation project delivered by local schools.


  • Restoration of 2ha of SSSI wet woodland.
  • 150m of stream habitat improvements on Fores drain.
  • 110m of pre-planted coir rolls.
  • 22 volunteers were engaged.
  • Totalling 201 hours of volunteering time.
  • The project engaged with 71 schools children from three classes.


  • This has enthused local members of the public in an urban SSSI, encouraged volunteering and a sense of ownership in the woodland at Sandall Beat Woodland.
  • Improved water quality.
  • Creation of ~718m3 of flood storage.
  • 2ha of SSSI habitat improved.

Funded by: The Environment Agency

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