Case study:Improving conservation condition of the National Trust managed river test SSSI

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Location: 51° 12' 24", -1° 21' 34"
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Project overview

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Status In progress
Project web site
Themes Fisheries, Habitat and biodiversity
Country England
Main contact forename Dylan
Main contact surname Everett
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation National Trust
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations
Parent multi-site project
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encompassing the following
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Project summary

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The National Trust (NT) Mottisfont countryside team manage in excess of 3 miles of the main river Test and its tributaries all of which are designated as SSSI and are of significant economic, recreational and historical value. The NT has conservation aims to ensure all SSSI units are maintained in ‘Favourable’ status. Prior to the project delivery, these SSSI units were classified as ‘Unfavourable’ and as such individual management strategies were formed to improve this status along the river Test. The main inhibiting factors for SSSI favourable status were deemed as: 1. Stockbridge Marsh Court Stream: Erosion of bank and inlets and complete reduction of bankside vegetation all of which are due to excessive pressure from dogs, people and livestock. 2. Oakley Beat: Poor flow rates and excessive depths due to a weir and historical dredging of river bed, preventing the presence of expected chalk stream flora and fauna. These issues were identified by project partners including Natural England (NE) and the Environment Agency (EA) as inhibiting factors towards the wider catchment Test and Itchen Restoration Strategy (T&IRS). The Court Leet of Stockbridge was a key engagement partner for funding and enabling traditional commoning practice (grazing, access) to continue.

Monitoring surveys and results

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Monitoring work is ongoing and has been in progress since 2014. The National Trust are working closely with designating bodies including the Environment Agency and Natural England as well as with local education institutions including Sparsholt College, Hampshire and Southampton University to monitor the results of works completed since 2014.

Monitoring SSSI areas.

Lessons learnt

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Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district South East
River basin Test and Itchen


River name River Test
Area category 10 - 100 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category 100 - 200 m
Maximum altitude (m) 180
180 m
0.18 km
18,000 cm
Dominant geology Calcareous
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Arable and Horticulture
Waterbody ID GB107042022740

Other case studies in this subcatchment: Old Station Beat restoration, River Test at Bossington


WFD water body codes
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present
Invasive species present
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)
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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) ~4828
"~" is not declared as a valid unit of measurement for this property.
Project started
Works started
Works completed 2014/01/01
Project completed
Total cost category
Total cost (k€)
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources Court Leet of Stockbridge

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 Maintain SSSI to favourable condition
Hydromorphology Bank erosion, Poor flow
Biology Lack of riparian vegetation
Other reasons for the project Dog and livestock trampling


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor
Planform / Channel pattern
Non-structural measures
Management interventions Monitoring strategy
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

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

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Additional links and references

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Supplementary Information

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