4. Channel restoration - Box Moor near Hemel Hempstead

Aims: Improve wildlife corridors; Manage flow

Water body: River Bulbourne
Project description

Project to restore a 1km length of the R. Bulbourne between the Grand Union Canal and Two Waters Road, Hemel Hempstead.

 The River Bulbourne at Box Moor has been extensively modified historically as a result of land drainage, agriculture, milling and through the construction of the Grand Union canal in 1797.  The current course has been straightended, dredged, widened and impounded in various places, which has led to an artificial river channel unable to support the diversity of wildlife typically found in chalk streams. In addition, unrestricted grazing of the banks has contributed to erosion and left little in the way of marginal vegetation which is so important for the health of the river.  

To address these issues the Box Moor Trust, Chilterns Chalk Streams Project and Environment Agency worked together on a project to restore the Bulbourne to a more natural chalk stream.  The scheme involved creating a narrower, more sinuous channel using locally sourced material to create a new course within the existing channel and re-grading the banks in behind the new bank edges, reconnecting the river with its floodplain.  In addition, wetland scrapes were created to provide additional habitat and work was carried out to repair the fords to allow livestock and vehicle movements and prevent erosion in the future.  New fencing was installed to control grazing on the site, to protect the restored channel.

Since completion the project has one three awards including:

  • Highly Commended at Canal and River Trust Living Waterway award
  • Best medium scale-habitat enhancement scheme - Wild Trout Conservation Awards 2017
  • Best Practise Award for Small Scale Practical Nature Conservation - The Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management.
Project lead: Box Moor Trust
Project partners: Chilterns Chalk Streams Project, Environment Agency
Contact for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Project start: March 2015
Project end: August 2017
Funding source: , Box Moor Trust , Chilterns Chalk Streams Project

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