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Fresh Water

Fresh water habitats come in twp primary forms, standing water (lakes and ponds) and running water (streams and rivers)

  • Lakes: lakes are large areas of deep and still fresh water; in Dorset these are rarely natural and most occur as a remnant of past mineral extraction
  • Ponds: many ponds in Dorset are of man-made origin too from village ponds once used to water cattle to remnants of clay or peat digging 
  • Chalk streams: most of Dorset's rivers have their source in the chalk hills of north and mid-Dorset where, initially, they are fairly fast flowing streams of pure and slightly alkaline water
  • Slow moving rivers: as these streams merge and reach the lower lying land south east of the central chalk ridge they form slow moving, meandering rivers where silt readily builds on inside of bends in the course
  • Fen and carr: where rivers have changed course or regularly over flow onto lower lying areas nearby fen can establish (reeds and sedges) or possibly carr (trees such as willow and alder)
  • Ditches and streams: on the lower reaches of the main rivers are extensive low lying plains which readily flood in winter and are often drained by streams (natural) or ditches (man-made)


Habitat Types: 
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These are some of the habitat types that occur within this general classification. Click/tap any thumbnail for more detail about a specific habitat type.