The difference five years makes.

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The photograph above of the River Nar near Castle Acre was taken in 2015, just after we had strimmed the banks ahead of rehabilitation works. The issues here were a dredged channel and a steeply domed riverbank piled high with the arisings. The channel is too wide and too deep. There is little hydrological connectivity except on the far bank where a berm has formed within the overwide channel. The ‘dredging’ which was more the result of mechanised weed-management than a concerted dredging effort had taken place annually, and always from the same bank. The programme was haphazard too, in that no clearing was done in inaccessible parts of the river: in the far distance a line of trees had protected the river and here the bed is undamaged. In an ideal world we would have built up the river bed with gravel before doing any other work, but gravel was not easily available here and our budget precluded us from bringing any in. We did fill two short sections in the reach as photographed. Otherwise the work consisted of installing LWD and then re-grading the bank to create a narrow, sinuous channel and a much lower bank profile which the river can – and does – spill over in high flows. The progression of photos below shows the evolution of the work over the following years: 2016, 2017 and 2019.

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