Case study:Bow Brook Living Landscape

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Location: 52° 12' 38", -2° 5' 7"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Fisheries, Habitat and biodiversity, Land use management - agriculture, Monitoring, Water quality
Country England
Main contact forename Lucy
Main contact surname Wood
Main contact user ID User:Lucy_WWT
Contact organisation Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations Environment Agency
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
100m backwater channel (Sept 2013)

Project summary

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Through the Bow Brook Living Landscape project we are developing a coherent network linked by corridors that can provide benefits for people as well as for biodiversity.

The catchment is largely rural and is intensively farmed and drained. This combined with erosion from cattle and unfenced banks are loading pollutants into the brook. Since the 1960s the town at the headwaters of the brook and many of the villages have increased dramatically in size raising pressures from sewage outfalls.

Farmer meetings have been essential in drawing together the community on topics that are not only of interest to the Wildlife Trust but also those actually working on the land.

The EA approached WWT to work with them in 2011 to help to improve WFD status in Worcestershire.

The Bow Brook is classed as Poor for Phosphate and Moderate for fish. The EA provided funding and support throughout the project.

The capital works on the Bow Brook are split into two categories: firstly to reduce diffuse pollution and second to increase wildlife habitat, particularly for fish. Around 14,725m2 of open water wetland has been created, working on approximately 20% of the main channels length.

Rural diffuse pollution projects across 8 sites include cattle drinkers; fencing key sections and rural sustainable drainage pools.

We have reverted arable fields into wild flower meadows reducing nutrient inputs in the catchment and directly alongside the brook’s banks, channelling the surrounding arable field’s drainage into the pools.

Fish habitat projects are spread across 6 locations including hazel faggot woody debris as deflectors to flush silts from the gravel; reprofiling sections of the dredged banks, to increase bank diversity to the over deepened channel; and the creation of additional braids of channel with deeper resting pools, shallow fringes and online pools.

Monitoring surveys and results

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A newly formed relationship with the University of Worcester has created mutual benefits for both parties. A Sonde collects data and the university use this within their courses and final year projects, which we receive a copy of.

Lessons learnt

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Image gallery

Bow Brook Farm Relict Channel
Bow Brook Hazel Faggots
Bow Brook Mill Farm After

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Severn
River basin Warwickshire Avon


River name Bow Bk - Shell to conf R Avon (Warks)
Area category 100 - 1000 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category Less than 100 m
Maximum altitude (m) 88
88 m
0.088 km
8,800 cm
Dominant geology Calcareous
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Arable and Horticulture
Waterbody ID GB109054043712


WFD water body codes GB109054043712
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name
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
Dominant hydrology
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use
Average bankfull channel width category
Average bankfull channel width (m)
Average bankfull channel depth category
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
Mean discharge category
Mean annual discharge (m3/s)
Average channel gradient category
Average channel gradient
Average unit stream power (W/m2)

Project background

Reach length directly affected (m)
Project started
Works started
Works completed
Project completed
Total cost category
Total cost (k€)
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources

Cost for project phases

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

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Land drainage, Urbanisation, Invasive species, Pollution incident
Hydromorphology Channel pattern/planform, Quantity & dynamics of flow, Substrate conditions, Width & depth variation
Biology Fish, Macrophytes and/or phytobenthos: Taxonomic composition
Other reasons for the project


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications Introducing large woody debris, Soft erosion solutions, Bank reprofiling, Cattle drinkers
Floodplain / River corridor Creation of wetland, Fencing, Tree planting, Pollarding, Control of invasive species
Planform / Channel pattern
Non-structural measures
Management interventions Arable reversion to wildflower meadow, Soil Health Plan
Social measures (incl. engagement) Landowners advised, Flylife course


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

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
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Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

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

Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

Additional links and references

Link Description press release Video summarising the project

Supplementary Information

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