Case study:3Rivers - Lumburn:Walkham:Tavy

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Location: 50° 31' 46", -4° 9' 39"
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Project overview

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Status In progress
Project web site http://
Themes Water quality
Country England
Main contact forename Hazel
Main contact surname Kendall
Main contact user ID User:David chapman
Contact organisation Westcountry Rivers Trust
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations Devon Wildlife Trust, South West Water, Tamar Valley AONB, Tavy Walkham and Plym Fishing Club
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Project picture

Project summary

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The project focused on Water Framework Directive Failures on these three rivers which largely related to phosphate inputs. There are a range of diffuse and point source phosphate inputs into these rivers from both rural and urban sources. We worked with partners to contact farmers who were likely to be having impacts through their land based activities and households who may have impacts through the use of non-mains foul drainage systems.

26 farm visits and associated integrated farm plans were undertaken, three agricultural events were attended and three agricultural demonstrations were delivered (soil decompaction, cross compliance, efficient slurry spreading). Three farm grants (surface water management x 2, streamside fencing) were also completed.

With regard to urban drainage, over 100 of the most vulnerable properties on non-mains drainage were visited to disseminate information on the recently introduced General Binding Rules. Local estate agents were also contacted to help disseminate information on the General Binding Rules as were the caravan/ campsites in this area (8).

Other actions included the completion of 15km of river walkover surveys, engaging and training 14 volunteers, and half a hectare of native broadleaf woodland was planted.

Monitoring surveys and results

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Water chemistry testing was regularly undertaken as part of the project to help identify phosphate sources. This testing was undertaken by Westcountry Rivers Trust and Students from Plymouth University. A more detailed study of metals in these rivers was also undertaken to help to understand more fully the historical issue with regard to heavy metals in the catchments.

Lessons learnt

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Relatively short term projects (12 months or less) such as this make it difficult to build moment to any degree and identify and contact the most relevant land/ home owners with regard to impact on the rivers. Higher impact farms, such as the larger dairy units are particularly difficult to engage. Householders on non-mains drainage are also difficult to engage with through the normal methods such as attendance at events and markets etc.; the most effective way of engaging with non-mains drainage householders was through cold calling.

Good numbers of volunteers were available for tasks such as the undertaking of walkover surveys.

Landowners were reticent to plant trees, generally because land is being used for agricultural and the grants available for tree planting aren't significant.

Further water quality monitoring is required to provide greater details of phosphate and other pollution inputs.

Image gallery

Newly planted trees - Lower Tavy
Farmers event - Soil de-compaction, River Walkham
Water Quality Testing, Black Brook, River Walkham

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district South West
River basin Tamar


River name Lower River Tavy
Area category 100 - 1000 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category 200 - 500 m
Maximum altitude (m) 437
437 m
0.437 km
43,700 cm
Dominant geology Siliceous
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Improved grassland
Waterbody ID GB108047007840


Name Rivers Lumburn, Walkham and Lower Tavy
WFD water body codes GB108047007850, GB108047007870, GB108047007840
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name Lumburn, Walkham, Lower Tavy
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body No
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present No
Invasive species present No
Species of interest
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River corridor land use
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Project background

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Project started
Works started
Works completed
Project completed
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Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
Investigation and design
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Works and works supervision
Post-project management and maintenance

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Pollution incident
Physico-chemical Phosphate
Other reasons for the project


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor floodplain woodland planting
Planform / Channel pattern
Non-structural measures
Management interventions Land management
Social measures (incl. engagement) Volunteer engagement
Other Survey work


Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Biological quality elements

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Physico-chemical quality elements

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Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

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Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

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Supplementary Information

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