Case study:River Avon Habitat Enhancement, Fifield

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Location: 51° 15' 8", -1° 47' 21"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Environmental flows and water resources, Fisheries, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology
Country England
Main contact forename Mike
Main contact surname Blackmore
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation Wild Trout Trust
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations Wessex Chalkstreams Project, Environment Agency, local volunteers
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Project picture

Project summary

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As part of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's 'Wessex Chalkstream Project' which promotes understanding and conservation on the Hampshire Avon, the Wild Trout Trust led a week of habitat enhancement work on the River Avon at Fifield near Netheravon.

This section of the Avon was once managed by the famous river keeper and author Frank Sawyer. During his time as head keeper for the Services Dry Fly Fishing Association (SDFFA), Frank oversaw the restoration of the river from a polluted, over-silted one, no-longer capable of supporting trout, towards a productive flowing river with a clean gravel bed. Frank's 'Great Clean Up', although not a complete success, led the way for future generations to improve river habitat.

Restoration implemented
Volunteers with the support of the Wild Trout Trust, two Wessex Chalkstream Project officers and the local Environment Agency contact, helped to introduce an abundance of woody material into the river, kicking flow about to create a more pronounced thalweg and helping diversify the habitat. By the end of the week, 500 metres of river habitat had been enhanced for £1000 plus the cost of a few chestnut stakes (a bargain at 3 times the price!).

Monitoring surveys and results

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Wednesday 30 April 2014 (update)
Following winter flooding and sustained high water levels, the work has stood up really well to the demanding weather. Still, there was some repair work and tidying up to do at the Fifield site. Over the winter some trees had blown down and were blocking paths and posing a potential risk of flooding and damage to the restoration work. The main problem was a large tree branch which had fallen across a footbridge and the bottom end of the reach. After consulting with landowners, the fishing club that manages the site and the Environment Agency, it was decided that the wood should be used to create further habitat at the lower end of the site, and at the same time remove the risk.

Lessons learnt

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One volunteer was a young soldier getting back into physical work after a gruelling 3-year recovery from being seriously wounded in an explosion in Afghanistan. Despite being exhausted, he very much enjoyed the day highlighting the therapeutic value of hands-on conservation work.

Image gallery

Undertaking in-channel works

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district South West
River basin Hampshire Avon


River name Hampshire Avon (Upper)
Area category 100 - 1000 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category 200 - 500 m
Maximum altitude (m) 212
212 m
0.212 km
21,200 cm
Dominant geology Calcareous
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Arable and Horticulture
Waterbody ID GB108043022350

Other case studies in this subcatchment: Gunville Phase I, Longstreet A 91a, River Avon at East Chisenbury, West Amesbury


WFD water body codes GB108043022350
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name Hampshire Avon (Upper)
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body No
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present No
Invasive species present No
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) 1000
1,000 m
1 km
100,000 cm
Project started 2013/10/01
Works started
Works completed
Project completed 2013/11/01
Total cost category 10 - 50 k€
Total cost (k€) 12.5
12.5 k€
12,500 €
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources Environment Agency, Partnership contributions, In kind contributions

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 1 - 10 k€ 1
1 k€
1,000 €
Wild Trout Trust Mike Blackmore
Post-project management and maintenance

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Land drainage
Hydromorphology Width & depth variation, Quantity & dynamics of flow
Biology Fish
Other reasons for the project Community project with local volunteer involvement


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications Introducing large woody debris
Floodplain / River corridor
Planform / Channel pattern
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement) Citizen participation in the restoration project


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

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Supplementary Information

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