Case study:Ladywell Fields (QUERCUS)

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Location: 51° 27' 16", -0° 1' 8"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Fisheries, Flood risk management, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Monitoring, Social benefits, Urban
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 EU's LIFE Environment Fund, London Borough of Lewisham, Environment Agency, Building Design Partnership, Fergal Contracting
Parent multi-site project

Case_study:QUERCUS Ravensbourne

This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Ladywell Fields after restoration

Project summary

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Ladywell Fields has been transformed from its previously characterless and formless landscape into a diverse, popular and accessible public open space. The creation of a new gravel-bedded river channel through the centre of the park has also brought about significant improvements in biodiversity. Ladywell Fields won the best-new-public-space category at London Planning Awards for its rejuvenated park in Lewisham.

  • Aims - natural flood risk management, land use change
  • Other aims and benefits - improving ecology, improving hydromorphological conditions
  • Rainfall (mm) 557
  • Altitude (m) 22
  • Type - Implemented Working with Natural Processes measures
  • Measures Flood storage areas, Reconnect rivers to floodplain
  • Construction - Concrete removed, soil and stone banks instead and wooden pontoons for viewing
  • Size (km2) 0.21
  • Date implemented - 2007
  • Maintenance checks - channel erosion, sedimentation in ponds, vegetation control
  • Investment (£) 1,404,500
  • Additional storage (m3) 15,000
  • Elevation of defences (m) < 2
  • Risk reduction - impacts modelled

Monitoring surveys and results

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  • Surveys indicating that the public’s perception of the park in terms of recreational value and safety has improved. Now 78% visitors feel safe (in comparison to 44% before the restoration), and use of the park has increased over 2 and a half times.
  • survey results indicating a near 100% increase in the number of species present in the park (in particular fishing birds), which are benefiting from the greater range of habitat types now present following the restoration works.

Lessons learnt

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Performance/Ecosystem benefits - large increase in flood water storage to maintain 1 in 100 year protection, range of environmental benefits including backwaters, riffles and pools

Image gallery

Ladywell Fields fully restored, August 2008
Created backwater, August 2008
Created pond, August 2008

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, Cornmill Gardens (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 Ladywell fields
WFD water body codes GB106039023270
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name Ravensbourne (Catford to Deptford)
Pre-project morphology Single channel, Straight, Pool-riffle
Reference morphology Sinuous, Pool-riffle
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body Yes
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present No
Invasive species present No
Species of interest
Dominant hydrology Quick run-off
Dominant substrate Bedrock, Gravel, Silt
River corridor land use Urban
Average bankfull channel width category 2 - 5 m
Average bankfull channel width (m)
Average bankfull channel depth category 0.5 - 2 m
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
Mean discharge category
Mean annual discharge (m3/s) 0.43
0.43 m³/s
430 l/s
Average channel gradient category
Average channel gradient
Average unit stream power (W/m2)

Project background

Reach length directly affected (m) 200 m
0.2 km
20,000 cm
Project started 2006/06/01
Works started
Works completed 2008/09/01
Project completed
Total cost category
Total cost (k€) 500 k€
500,000 €
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources London Borough of Lewisham, Chester City Council

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

Supplementary funding information

Part-funded through the EU’s LIFE Environment Programme

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Riparian development
Hydromorphology Width & depth variation, Structure & condition of riparian zones
Other reasons for the project Habitat enhancement, crime prevention


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications Planting, Depth variation, Removal of fencing
Floodplain / River corridor Creation of backwaters, Creation of terraces, New footpaths
Planform / Channel pattern Creation of meanders
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement) cafe built and entrances to the park improved
Other Consultation


Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative
Width & depth variation Yes Yes Improvement
Structure & condition of riparian zones Yes Yes Improvement

Biological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative
Fish Yes Yes No No No

Physico-chemical quality elements

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

Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative
Public Accessibility Yes Yes Yes Improvement

Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

Additional links and references

Link Description RRC site description Lewisham Council's link Quercus project final report JBA case studies of natural flood risk management

Supplementary Information

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