11. Channel re-alignment - Hedges Farm

Aim: Improve wildlife corridors

Water body: River Ver
Project description

Potential project to restore the river to a more natural alignment along the bottom of the valley between New Barnes Mill and Park Street Mill.

In several sections along its course the river has been diverted from its original route into mill leats, which are commonly perched above the valley bottom. An example of this is at Hedges Farm, between New Barnes Mill and Burydell Lane, where the river has been diverted from its original course and straightened. This has resulted in a relatively unnatural chalk stream morphology with minimal flow diversity. The surrounding fields are frequently affected by localised groundwater flooding, which is likely to have been exacerbated by the fact that the current channel is perched above the valley bottom, which prevents upwelling groundwater from finding its way into the river.

The river is unfenced along the majority of the reach and as a result the banks have been widely
poached by cattle. This has caused sections of bank to be eroded and destabilised, which has
resulted in siltation in the river. 
The aims of the project are:

  • Use LiDAR to investigate relic channel meanders in the landscape, to establish the optimal route for channel re-alignment.
  • Re-align channel through fields to create more natural meandering channel form, along the valley bottom where possible.
  • Once re-alignment has been carried out, install appropriate cattle fencing along both banks to prevent cattle from accessing the river, with drinking/crossing points to allow cattle to move from one grazing area to another. 
  • If re-alignment is not possible an alternative option would be to create a narrower more meandering channel in its current location.

This project is being developed as part of a programme of river restoration/enhancement measures being carried out by Affinity Water in support of their Sustainability Reductions Programme for the R. Ver which aims to improve flows and its ecological health.

Project lead: Affinity Water
Project partners: Environment Agency
Contact for more information: Di Hammond
Funding source: Affinity Water

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