Minn’s Meadow – restoring gravel to a dredged channel

• 643 meters of pool-riffle restoration

• floodplain borrow pits left as shallow ‘pseudo-oxbow’ hollows which fill with groundwater in winter

• ranunculus and starwort re-established on restored gravel bed

• all-time record trout numbers two years after the project

• a meadow in which the general public can also enjoy this delightful chalk stream along an improved footpath

Minn’s Meadow lies at the foot of the hill below Castle Acre. Although the elaborate meander pattern was relatively intact, the channel had been dredged. Between two horseshoe meanders a long isthmus of spoil had been piled on the bank, an unsightly mound standing proud of the floodplain. Most of the gradient available to the river through the length of the meadow was deployed in the first few yards downstream of the upper road bridge, whereafter the stream slowed and had filled with sediment. It was dominated by bur-reed and eelgrass. Several attempts at restoration, including “dig and dump” had not really improved things because the fundamental problem was lack of riverbed and therefore gradient.

In this project gravel was won from floodplain borrow pits alongside the channel and used to create a series of riffles between the deeper sections on the bends. Once the bed had been restored to a correct height, plugs of reed canary grass were used to establish a narrower channel and shelving bank profile.

A dog swimming area was constructed by reinforcing the banks with gravel and logs.