The Demonstration Test Catchments (DTC) project is a joint Defra, Environment Agency (EA) and Welsh Assembly Government initiative working in three river catchments – the Wensum in Norfolk plus the Eden (Cumbria) and Avon (Hampshire).

The overall objective of the project is to provide evidence to test the hypothesis that it is possible to cost effectively reduce the impact of agricultural diffuse water pollution on ecological function while maintaining food security through the implementation of multiple on-farm measures across whole river catchments using local expertise to solve local problems. [READ MORE]


What's in the news?

  • 06 May 2017: Pensthorpe's Wild about the Wensum!Our stand at this year's event included the new-improved catchment model prepared by Gilla, as popular with young visitors as ever. In addition, to engage people with research in the Wensum DTC evaluating the effectiveness of cover crops as a means to reduce diffuse pollution, we featured a display of cover crop plants kindly grown at UEA by Paul Disdle from seed supplied by Paul Brown of Frontier Agriculture. The clear boxes help to show the root structure of each plant - and these will be used again at further events this year. A quiz to match the plant with its seed was popular with the older children and all the children were pleased with their 'love your river' stickers. The event was once again very well attended and generated a lot of interest in our research.
UEA stand at Pensthorpe Wild About the Wensum event

  • April 2017: Broadland Catch Up Sketchfab view of sediment trapsRoad run-off is a major source of sediment input into the upper reaches of the River Blackwater. The latest newsletter from the Broadland Catchment Partnership features a report on three roadside sediment traps constructed on the Salle Park Estate to capture road runoff before it enters the river. The sediment traps, which were funded by the Broadland Catchment Partnership ‘Norfolk Rural SuDS’ project, act as settling ponds to encourage the entrained sediment to settle out of suspension and allow cleaner water to discharge into the river. A 5 cm resolution aerial drone survey of the site (see picture) was conducted in February 2017. Click here to view it and Click here to access the newsletter.
  • April 2017: Wensum research shows reduction in agricultural pollution The new newsletter from NIAB TAG features an article about the latest results from cover crop trails in Wensum DTC. Click here to read all about it.
  • February 2017: 'Wonder Wheel' to help water sensitive farming The latest newsletter from the Broadland Catchment Partnership reports on the 'Wonder Wheel' a novel device being trialled by potato growers locally to disrupt tramlines and wheelings to prevent water, soil and nutrients moving or leaving the field. Click here to read all about it.
  • December 2016: Exciting UEA Student Research Opportunity with Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust (ESRT) are involved in a Project called Topsoil. This is funded by Interreg, which is European Union initiative. ESRT is a small part of a much larger project across many countries and organisations within Northern Europe to preserve Topsoil and come up with innovative ways to do this and to help landowners to preserve this invaluable growing medium without affecting productivity. Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust have a number of research projects available for UEA undergraduate and masters students to be involved with for their dissertations which will be supervised by Dr. Richard Cooper and Prof Kevin Hiscock of the Wensum DTC. If you are interested in being involved in one of these projects for your dissertation, then please get in touch with either Kevin Hiscock ( or Richard Cooper ( here for more information about the projects available.
  • December 2016: Summary of emerging evidence from the Demonstration Test Catchments (DTC) Platform The Phase 1 report summarising the work of the DTC programme is now available from the DEFRA website. Click here to access or download.
  • 14 Nov 2016: Workshop - Innovative ways to improve your farm’s soil, water and profits This free event organised by the Broadland Catchment Partnership attracted 48 attendees from Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire including 26 farmers along with agronomists, other farm advisers and academics. Short presentations from local farmers, agricultural researchers and farm advisers focussed on novel cost-effective techniques and drew on local evidence from the Wensum Demonstration Test Catchment, Morley Agricultural Foundation, Cranfield University and ADAS trials related to cultivations and cover crops. Farmers and advisers had the opportunity to discuss controlled traffic farming, inter-row and tramline management, and the practical benefits and cost savings they can deliver. Attendees were taken by tractor and trailer to see the Estate’s newly installed silt traps for intercepting run-off from roads and a sugar beet pad. For a full account of the event and links to the presentations Click here. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to 'Salle Workshop 2016').

To read more about what's been happening see our News page.

View Wensum DTC Google Earth project
Wensum Google Earth project
Explore the Wensum catchment from the comfort of your own computer using this 'Google Earth' project developed by GIS expert Gilla Sunnenberg. [Click here] to view the project.
Out and about
Mill on the Wensum
Three arched bridge
Demonstration Test Catchments Logo