Avon Hampshire Management Catchment
There are 1 operational catchments in this management catchment.
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The Hampshire Avon river system flows through a region of outstanding natural and cultural heritage, with the main Wiltshire tributaries converging in Salisbury, and meeting the sea at Christchurch. The catchment support habitats and species of national and international importance, with Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area and Ramsar designations. The overall catchment area is about 1,750 square kilometres and 205 kilometres of the river are designated as SSSI. Although predominantly a chalk river, some of the headwaters are fed by the Upper Greensand (UGS), with clay in its western headwaters, grading to sand and gravels at the lower end. Land use is predominantly rural (98%) comprising of arable, improved pasture grasslands and woodland. The Avon is considered to be one of the most bio diverse river systems in lowland Britain, supporting a very rich flora, fish and invertebrate fauna. The river is well known for its salmon and trout fisheries, although salmon numbers have been under pressure in recent years. Water resources within the Avon catchment are utilised for a number of purposes, the biggest use is public and private water supply. Other activities include general agriculture, spray irrigation, fish farming and mineral activities. In some parts of the catchment, rising phosphate and nitrate levels in the groundwater are a cause for concern. Christchurch Harbour is an important tourist and recreational hub and is internationally important for nature conservation. There are three designated bathing beaches in this area attracting large numbers of visitors.