Case study:Plough Hill Farm Meander and Wet meadow restoration

Jump to: navigation, search
(0 votes)

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

Location: 52° 0' 44", 0° 20' 40"
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 In progress
Project web site
Themes Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology
Country England
Main contact forename Kieren
Main contact surname Alexander
Main contact user ID User:KierenAlexander
Contact organisation Essex Wildlife Trust
Contact organisation web site http://
Partner organisations
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Project Site

Project summary

Edit project overview to modify the project summary.

This project furthers the development of the River Pant and builds on the work undertaken at Millfield, Bocking and Ironbridge farm. The aim of all three projects is to target an improvement in the River Pant under the Water Framework Directive.

Currently the river is failing under the Water Framework directive. There are a number of overriding issues in this waterbody most notably a heavily modified water body that has become disconnected from the floodplain, phosphate and diffuse pollution input, point source and fish passage.

Whilst it is impossible that this project will single handedly turn around this assessment, it will along with the other projects begin to make a difference to this waterbody and start to improve it ecologically and with multi benefits such as flood alleviation seeing improvements.

This is a fairly simple intervention and is focused around enhancing existing geomorphological processes such as riffle creation, and sediment deposition. Both are of major benefits to invertebrates, spawning fish and fish fry, which are arguably the key components in any river's ecosystem.

We aim to improve the river by opening up an old meander bend. Historically the river would have flowed around this bend but at some point in the past this has been straightened. This has left a relict channel which is partially open at one end. This floods but only infrequently, we aim to connect at one end to allow increased wetting up. This will have a series of effects, it will promote aquatic and emergent vegetation in the derelict channel, it will provide a fish fry refuge at time of high flows and offer some flood alleviation by increasing connectivity with the floodplain and allow silt to settle out of the floodplain.

In addition to the above, three pieces of woody debris will be installed which will further kick start geomorphic processes, in this case riffles, bank and bottom erosion and deposition. The woody debris allow pollutants to be filtered out, berms to be created and river flow to be more dynamic. Beyond the works on the river there will also be some hedge planting to connect up the landscape and the river and allow birds and other animals to move freely around the project site and other

Work has now been consented and has received planning permission and once the bird breeding season is complete, work will commence. Physical earthworks will take around a week to complete.

Monitoring surveys and results

Edit project overview to modify the Monitoring survey and results.

Fixed point photography will be used to assess vegetation changes and changes in river performance.

Lessons learnt

Edit project overview to modify the lessons learnt.

This is a small project, total cost is expected to be less than 5k. However, it still has to be treated as if it is a major project. This has led to a very bottom heavy project with a substantially more spent on the consenting process rather than the delivering the project. There is a strong argument to suggest that any river restoration project must be worth the consenting process and smaller projects may not offer value for money.

Image gallery


Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Anglian
River basin Combined Essex


River name Pant
Area category 10 - 100 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category 100 - 200 m
Maximum altitude (m) 130
130 m
0.13 km
13,000 cm
Dominant geology Calcareous
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Arable and Horticulture
Waterbody ID GB105037041180

Other case studies in this subcatchment: Ironbridge Farm, Millfield Plantation 2


Name Plough Hill
WFD water body codes GB105037041180
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name Pant
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body No
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations BAP Habitat
Protected species present Yes
Invasive species present Yes
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) 50
50 m
0.05 km
5,000 cm
Project started 2015/04/06
Works started 2015/08/17
Works completed
Project completed
Total cost category Less than 1 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
Stakeholder engagement and communication
Works and works supervision
Post-project management and maintenance

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure
Hydromorphology Quantity & dynamics of flow, backwater creation
Biology Fish, Invertebrates, Macrophytes
Physico-chemical Specific non-synthetic pollutants
Other reasons for the project


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

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

Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

Additional links and references

Link Description For more information on this and other projects in Combined Essex catchment

Supplementary Information

Edit Supplementary Information