Case study:Cudworth dyke restoration project

Jump to: navigation, search
(one vote)

To discuss or comment on this case study, please use the discussion page.

Location: 53° 36' 12", -1° 25' 24"
Edit location
Loading map...
Left click to look around in the map, and use the wheel of your mouse to zoom in and out.

Project overview

Edit project overview
Status Planned
Project web site http://
Themes Environmental flows and water resources, Flood risk management, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Monitoring, Social benefits, Water quality, Urban
Country England
Main contact forename Kathryn
Main contact surname Turner
Main contact user ID User:Dr Turner
Contact organisation Yorkshire Water
Contact organisation web site http://
Partner organisations
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Pre works photo of area

Project summary

Edit project overview to modify the project summary.

Sandybridge dyke is a small stream in the upper segment of Cudworth dyke, near Royston in South Yorkshire where we're trialling an innovative project to see whether habitat restoration can improve river water quality.

The stream runs between Rabbit Ings nature reserve, which was previously a colliery spoil heap, and a closed municipal land fill site and on through an industrial estate to reach it confluence with the River Dearne. As a result of its historical neighbours, the dyke is mostly man made, and in poor condition.

Yorkshire Water are undertaking research at this site, looking at natural ways to improve the quality of the water body. Due to its history and poor state, Cudworth Dyke makes the perfect case study for this research.

In 2013 we carried out an initial project to look at the pressures acting on this water way, including our own, and what could be done to improve water quality. We did this in conjunction with the Cudworth Dyke stakeholder group, our design specialists ARUP and government agencies such as the Environment Agency.

Following this research several practical habitat restoration actions were suggested. We will be trailing these in the upper section of the stream called Sandybridge dyke.

The Restoration of Sandybridge Dyke

Existing research published by the Journal of Applied Ecology suggests that restoration of rivers will deliver benefits to water quality. However due to the long term nature of the data sets required this has only rarely been demonstrated.

The restoration of Sandybridge Dyke will provide much needed data on whether river restoration can improve water quality.

With the kind permission and help of the landowners, The Land Trust and Barnsley Council, and with the support of Groundwork Dearne Valley who manage Rabbit Ings, we will be carrying out this restoration work from February 2014.

This will involve creating a new double meander in the dyke, altering a weir and digging out a dried reed bed, to bring faster flows and more oxygen to the waters. The new river route has been designed to take key detours, so that we don't damage the existing water vole population or the favourite roosting trees of key owl species who take up residence in the winter.

We are investiating how to best tend this type of work to reach key specialist contractors and partners to provide us with high quility outputs and the lowest cost. We have two year post monioring of key water quality metrics chemistry, macroinvertebrates, macrophytes and fish and aim to publish our findings good or bad to share this important test of river restoration to improve water quality.

Environmental Science in Action.

A key component of this project is monitoring of the water quality and the number and type of residents living in the river.

For two years before and two after our habitat restoration work on Sandybridge dyke, we have been and will continue to undertake detailed monitoring to be able to assess the impact of habitat restoration on water quality.

The data will contribute key evidence to support river restoration as a means to improve our post-industrial Yorkshire streams.

Monitoring surveys and results

Edit project overview to modify the Monitoring survey and results.

We now have two years pre work monitoring chemistry, macroinvertebrates, macrophytes and fish which demonstrates that this section of the dyke is in poor condition . These will form a baseline for comparisons with two years post works assessment.

Lessons learnt

Edit project overview to modify the lessons learnt.

Origional cost estimates for the feasisbility and design of this work (180k) were too low, cost are now alomst double this value using our framework of providers. The use of tendering is now being investigated to allow us to procure directly to smaller more specialist providers and will provide a comparison for our future investment in approx 20 fish passage projects, when compared with other river restorations such as our projects at Ingbirchworth and Swinsty reservoirs that are being delivered down our corporate framwork.

Image gallery

Cudworth dyke.jpg
Cudworth murky water.jpg

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Humber
River basin Don and Rother


River name Cudworth Dyke from Source to River Dearne
Area category 10 - 100 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category 100 - 200 m
Maximum altitude (m) 116
116 m
0.116 km
11,600 cm
Dominant geology Calcareous
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Arable and Horticulture
Waterbody ID GB104027063230


Name Rabbit Ings
WFD water body codes GB104027063230
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name Cudworth Dyke from Source to River Dearne
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body Yes
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present Yes
Invasive species present Yes
Species of interest Water Vole
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 2011/01/10
Works started
Works completed
Project completed
Total cost category 500 - 1000 k€
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 100 - 500 k€ Yorkshire Water Kathryn Turner
Stakeholder engagement and communication 1 - 10 k€ Yorkshire Water Laura Frudd
Works and works supervision 100 - 500 k€ Yorkshire Water Sarah Gledhill
Post-project management and maintenance 1 - 10 k€ Groundworks Mick Birkenshaw
Monitoring 10 - 50 k€ Yorkshire Water Kathryn Turner

Supplementary funding information

Funding has come from Yorkshire Waters National Environment Programme. Which investigates solutions to address reasons for failure under the water framework directive.

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure
Biology Macroinvertebrates, fish and macrophytes
Physico-chemical Ammonia, Dissolved oxygen and Iron
Other reasons for the project To see if restoration can improved water quaility status


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor
Planform / Channel pattern Creation of meanders
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

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative
Invertebrates Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Macrophytes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fish: Species composition Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Physico-chemical quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative
Oxygen balance Yes No No No No
Specific non-synthetic pollutants Yes No No No No

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

Supplementary Information

Edit Supplementary Information