This Autumn, ColneCAN is launching a project to help Kingfishers find a home in urban locations in the river catchment. 

The Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is an iconic freshwater bird that brightens up Britain’s waterways. These conspicuous animals construct their nests along the water’s edge. With the arrival of Spring, breeding Kingfishers burrow into riverbanks, excavating a nest tunnels 60 – 90 cm deep into the earth. Unfortunately, the number of suitable nesting sites available to these birds has declined rapidly in recent years as human activity continues to change the landscape.

We will install nestboxes in places where natural riverbanks have been lost, replaced by walls of sheet piling (steel reinforcements erected to prevent banks from erosion). In our design, an artificial burrow is placed just below the ground with the nest tunnel accessible to the birds from the river. The sheet piling becomes multifunctional as wildlife havens are created within functioning urban structures.

Our first step is to identify areas of sheet piling in the Colne catchment that could support breeding Kingfishers:

We’re asking anyone who knows of such sites within the Colne catchment to get in touch by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling Hannah on 01895 832 662.


Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting. From an original concept by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.