I have been involved in chalk stream restoration – physical habitat projects and campaigning – since the early 1990s when I started a stream restoration project with pupils at the school where I taught in Dorset. In 1997 I co-founded the Wild Trout Trust and in 2011 the Norfolk Rivers Trust. I have written or worked on a number of conservation campaigns including WWF’s Rivers on the Edge, The State of England’s Chalk Streams, Flushed Away and Water for Wildlife. And more recently on the Chalk Streams First campaign and as chair of the CaBA chalk stream restoration group and primary author (with lots of help from numerous experts) of the CaBA chalk stream restoration strategy.
In 2011 with WWF sponsorship and working for the Norfolk Rivers Trust I put together a catchment restoration strategy for the River Nar in Norfolk and since then have been designing and co-delivering projects on the river in collaboration with the Norfolk Rivers Trust, the Norfolk Rivers Drainage Board and various landowners, notably Holkham, Narford and West Acre estates.
Castle Acre Common – channel recreation and floodplain reconnection
Minn’s Meadow – restoring gravel to a dredged channel
Emmanuel’s Common – uncovering a ‘lost’ chalk-stream channel and recreating a new reach of ‘reference reach’ chalk stream
If you, your rivers trust or group would like advice on a project or campaign, do get in touch. I work professionally and pro bono, depending on the job. Basically, I want to fix chalk streams and will help if I can.
Some photos below courtesy of Peter Christensen: Global Trout University of Oslo.
Restoration of chalk-stream floodplains
Here I designed a project to restore connectivity between the chalk stream and floodplain, with 2km of new, meandering channel, 50 acres of reconnected floodplain, 15 acres of wet woodland, and the pre-existing perched, impounded and dredged channel reverted to groundwater-fed fen.
Restoration of dredged chalk-stream channels
Here, we restored gravel in a previously dredged channel by excavating from flood-plain borrow pits and building riffles between the existing and natural meander pattern, with the borrow pits re-filled as shallow, ephemerally wet depressions, adding to the floodplain biodiversity.
Working with large woody material
I work with an experienced team of foresters – Richard and Pete. Our approach is to imitate natural tree-fall and wind-throw: the interaction between the chalk stream and large woody material is critical to the development of natural processes and self-restoration. The horse is called Archie – he was used to pull timber along a delicate SSSI river-bank.
Restoring wetlands, headwater fens and flushes
Most chalk-stream headwaters and floodplains have been extensively ditched and drained: restoring wetlands and headwater fens and flushes is key to restoring bio-diversity, water quality and flow resilience. I design wetland restoration wherever possible, no matter the project.
Catchment plans, reports and strategies
I have written, designed and edited numerous reports and strategies, including a local catchment restoration strategy for WWF & The Norfolk Rivers Trust and a national chalk stream restoration strategy, working with government regulators, industry and NGOs