2. Riverside Way - Restoring the River Ver

Aims: Involve people with their local waterbodies; Improve wildlife corridors; Manage flow

Water body: River Ver
Project description

A project which restored a stretch of the River Ver, close to its confluence with the R. Colne,  enhancing habitat for wildlife whilst also improving facilities for visitors.

 At Riverside Way, the course of the river has been re-configured, moved from its natural meandering channel and engineered into a straight and homogenous profile. The river lacked habitat typical of chalk streams being straight and over wide and was heavily shaded by trees. 

The project used a combination of tree management work and instream habitat enhancement techniques to restore a more naturally functioning river system with increased habitat diversity. The purpose of this work was to benefit a range of river wildlife including brown trout and and invertebrate species such as mayfly and caddisfly.  This work will also have a range of positive knock on effect for invertebrates, amphibians, mammals and birds in the wider ecosystem.

The Countryside Management Service managed the project with the help of their team of volunteers who worked alongside volunteers from the Ver Valley Society and staff from the Environment Agency.

A programme of tree work was carried out first, to increase the amount of light reaching the river (chalk streams should ideally have a ratio of 70:30 unshaded to shaded habitat for optimum biodiversity).  The cut trees were then used by the Wild Trout Trust trained volunteers, to create a range of habitat features in the channel.

Alongside this work, the riverside walk footpath was improved to facilitate access along this popular route and an interpretation bnoard explaining the project was installed at the site.

Project lead: Herts Countryside Management Service
Project partners: Chilterns Chalk Streams Project, Environment Agency, Herts Countryside Management Service, Wild Trout Trust; Ver Valley Society
Project start: Jun 2013
Project end: Apr 2015
Funding source: Lafarge Aggregates Ltd , Hertfordshire County Council , Chilterns Chalk Streams Project, Environment Agency

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting. From an original concept by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.