The ACA Forum

Conserving the Devonshire Avon from source to sea


The Aune Conservation Association (ACA) was formed about 40 years ago and derives its name from the ancient form of ‘Avon’ to distinguish our river from several other River Avon’s in the UK and elsewhere.  For most of this time, the focus of activities has been the tidal zone of the estuary, between Aveton Gifford and Bantham,  but at the  2006 AGM the Association voted to adopt the following mission statement – ‘Conserving the Devonshire Avon from source to sea’ to reflect the reality that the river is one dynamic system; what happens on the moors can affect the lower reaches, for example in rainfall, just as what happens in the lower reaches can affect the upper parts of the waterway, for example in the salmon run.

In June 2007, the Association was recognised as an environmental conservation charity, having revised the constitution at the 2007 AGM – see ACA constitution.

The ACA has the following objectives:-

•”to promote for the benefit of the public the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment of the river Avon in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” •”To advance the education of the public in the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment of the river Avon in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”

We recognise that many different groups of people depend upon the river for a variety of reasons and most of them care deeply about the river and its welfare.  However, we are keen to raise awareness amongst all who live and work in the Avon catchment of the need for careful husbandry of this priceless resource.  We work together with other community groups, local government, businesses, landowners, farmers and national agencies many of whom share our goal but, perhaps, without the same focus.  The membership consists of around 300, mostly local, people and meets several times a year for lectures, organized walks and social get-togethers. In addition, there are opportunities for volunteers to join in estuary clean-ups and occasional special projects.

One of our main priorities is the quality (and quantity) of river water because this controls the health of the river and much that goes on in the surrounding environment.   Other areas of interest include  river siltation, habitat regeneration, pollution and safe navigation.  These areas and others are covered in varying degrees on this website.

The ACA operates within the broad framework of both the Avon Estuary Management Plan (AEMP) and the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Management Plan – see for details.   The AEMP contains a huge amount of very useful information about the estuary including maps, geology, plant and animal life, recreation, history, byelaws, etc.

The Devon Avon Estuary is a small estuary reaching approximately 4km inland from the coast up to Aveton Gifford. The estuary mouth is coarse sediment with a scoured channel and semi-exposed rock platfoms, supporting characteristic crustacean and polychaete communities.  The lower estuary is made up of a mixture of different grades of sand, from coarse to fine. Various species of worm, crustacean and shrimp can be found here. One specimen of the rare tentacled lagoon worm has been recorded living in the thick, deep mud.  Like most estuaries of the South-West, the Devon Avon is an important nursery area for fish species and is potentially important for seahorse populations as it provides suitable food and shelter.  In May 2019, the Avon Estuary was designated a Marine Conservation Zone –  (see  Designation order for MCZ, Avon Estuary)  because it contains some very important biological and geological features – ( see – devon-avon-estuary-mcz-feature-maps).



A brief graphical  introduction to the ACA may be seen by clicking here (you will need Powerpoint software):  ACA _GENERAL

The current committee of 7 people represents a wide variety of backgrounds and interests in the river.  However, we are always on the lookout for additional volunteers who can bring a fresh perspective to our environmental conservation activities.

Click here to see the current membership of the ACA committee – ACA_COM_2018-1-3