Case study:Cornmill Gardens (QUERCUS)

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Location: 51° 27' 48", -0° 0' 49"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Social benefits, Spatial planning
Country England
Main contact forename Paul
Main contact surname Chapman
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation London Borough of Lewisham
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations Environment Agency, Building Design Partnership
Parent multi-site project

Case_study:QUERCUS Ravensbourne

This is a parent project
encompassing the following
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Project summary

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Site background

Before the regeneration of this site, this section of the Ravensbourne flowed through an area known as the Sundermead Estate. The river had been constrained within a narrow concrete channel as part of an historic flood defence scheme. This, together with high steel railings and overgrown vegetation had resulted in a neglected river possessing little ecological or local community interest. The river restoration scheme formed part of the 'Urban Renaissance in Lewisham' programme which aimed to create a new public open space within the Town Centre.


To remove the river from it’s concrete banks and create an attractive public open space.


Following the preparation of design proposals and a full public consultation, a masterplan was developed for the whole site. The concrete walls of the river were removed and replaced with more natural re-graded banks interspersed with steps and wooden platforms to improve river bank access. A puddle –clay liner was constructed to help restore flows. Gravels were introduced into the bed of the river. These were sized to ensure that they could move in the channel with respect to the flow conditions, thus creating natural habitat features for wildlife. Marginal areas were planted with native species such as Rush (Juncus effusus) and Yellow flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus) whilst a wildflower mix was sown along the banks. An overflow storage area which retains water during high flows was designed into the scheme by lowering an open space alongside the river.

Subsequent Performance Flood management within the channel should have been improved through a combination of making space for water by reprofiling the bank and creating additional storage on the floodplain. The area demonstrates how river restoration can be an integral part of a regeneration programme the helps to create a more attractive, diverse and accessible public open space with a natural river able to support a range of wildlife; mallards and moorhens have already been cited.

Monitoring surveys and results

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Lessons learnt

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Image gallery

prior to works
facing upstream

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Thames
River basin London


River name Ravensbourne (Catford to Deptford)
Area category 100 - 1000 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category 100 - 200 m
Maximum altitude (m) 132
132 m
0.132 km
13,200 cm
Dominant geology Calcareous
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Urban
Waterbody ID GB106039023270

Other case studies in this subcatchment: Broadway Fields/ Seagers Distillary, Catford Greyhound Stadium, Ladywell Fields (QUERCUS), Ladywell Fields Phase 2, Ladywell Fields to Cornmill Gardens, Ladywell Fields toeboarding, Lewisham College weir, Linear Park, QUERCUS Ravensbourne, Ravensbourne Tescos... further results


Name Cornmill Gardens
WFD water body codes GB106039023270
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name Ravensbourne (Catford to Deptford)
Pre-project morphology Artificial channel
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body Yes
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present No
Invasive species present Yes
Species of interest Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera ), European eel (Anguilla anguilla)
Dominant hydrology
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use Urban
Average bankfull channel width category
Average bankfull channel width (m)
Average bankfull channel depth category
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
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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) 100m
0.1 km
10,000 cm
Project started
Works started
Works completed
Project completed 2007/12/31
Total cost category
Total cost (k€)
Benefit to cost ratio
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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 Flood and coastal erosion protection
Other reasons for the project


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications Removal of concrete banks and bed, Bank reprofiling
Floodplain / River corridor Buffer strips
Planform / Channel pattern Improvement of channel morphology
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement)


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

Additional links and references

Link Description studies/cornmill%20gardens.pdf RRC summary London Rivers Action Plan EA and LA case study

Supplementary Information

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