River Stour, at the Godmersham Estate and at Milton near Canterbury
WHAT WE DID:
Many parts of the River Stour have been made less natural by human activity over the decades. Many sections have been straightened, the natural meanders removed; others have been widened or deepened, with natural features dredged out. This was generally done in an effort to prevent flooding, but in many cases it can lead to silt building up in the long term or cause flood risk issues downstream. It also leaves the river a much less diverse habitat.
We undertook works to put back some of this diversity at two major sections of the Stour between Ashford and Canterbury. We created features like pinch-points (narrowing the river), berms (material built up along one bank), deflectors (features sticking out into the river to disrupt flow), bays (removal of material from the bank to create wetland habitat) and pools. ‘Large woody material’ (dead wood fixed in place in the river channel) was used to increase habitat diversity. Volunteers planted native river plants.
The installation of these features has made the river channel more diverse, disrupting flow, and kick-starting the river into creating more features through the natural transport and deposition of material. The river bed and banks are now much more varied, creating habitats for plants, invertebrates, fish and birds. These stretches are now far more interesting and varied for people to visit.
Environment Agency, Viridor Credits (funders), Brett (landowners at Milton), Godmersham Estate, Stour Fisheries Association, Tonford Fly Fishers, and the Wild Trout Trust.