Matt Irvine, Project Officer (Stour and Avon)
With phases one to three successfully completed over the past three years, this winter and spring saw us enter into the fourth phase of this natural flood management project (undertaken in two stages).
Stage 1 works: Daylight the channel
This section of the Ripley Brook (500m length) was heavily overshaded by rhododendron, to the extent that the channel was not visible at all, even from the bank, and the rhododendron was beginning to take root on the opposite bank from overhanging branches. These works were undertaken in late winter to avoid the nesting bird season. The rhododendron was cut back to 2 metres from the bank and mechanically cleared back from the bank edge. It was stored in manageable piles and moved to an agreed burn site to be disposed of.
Channel before (left) and after (right) works
Once the channel was daylighted there was evidence of a gravel bed, smothered and clogged with sediment, but a good wash through in the next heavy rainfall event should leave the channel looking much healthier. Some carefully placed large woody debris will add some great features and cover to this previously straightened and overshaded channel.