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  • Stour catchment logoThe Stour

    Catchment description

    About the Stour 3

    The Stour catchment drains an area of 1,240km2. Most lies in Dorset, with smaller areas in the northern part of the catchment in Somerset and Wiltshire. The River Stour flows from its source near Stourhead in Wiltshire, descending 230 metres over a distance of 96 km to the coast at Christchurch Harbour where its water discharges into the English Channel.

    There are many tributary rivers, particularly in the north and south of the catchment area. These include the Cale which flows through Wincanton, the Lydden running from Buckland Newton to Sturminster Newton and the River Crane/ Moors River running from Cranborne down to the edge of Bournemouth.

    The middle part of the catchment is chalk downland and has few rivers. One of the most significant is the Allen which joins the Stour near Wimborne. Download the Stour Catchment description in related downloads on this page to find out more.

    Designations

    About the Stour 2

    The Stour catchment contains several types of designations that recognise and protect important landscapes, heritage, wildlife habitats and species and the water environment. 

    Some are statutory designations made under international or national legislation, whilst others are local designations endorsed by local councils. See the designations pdf in related downloads on this page for more information. 

    The Stour today

    About the Stour 1

    The Stour is a beautiful river with many natural features; it is teaming with wildlife and has a diverse range of habitats. Find out more about the Stour in related downloads on this page.

    If you are interested in helping to protect and enhance the Stour catchment visit the how you can help section.

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