River Test – Bossington ‘Old Station’ beat restoration

Project brief

In collaboration with the Environment Agency, Bossington Estate have embarked upon an ambitious programme of habitat and chalk stream restoration on the River Test.

A river restoration design assignment was completed by Cain Bio-Engineering for several ‘carriers’ of the River Test at Bossington Estate during 2012 and 2013. Restoration works commenced in October 2013 with the Old Station Beat, a 450m length of channel which was typically over-wide and over-deep, with low level board weirs. The design incorporated existing water vole habitat to ensure this would not be disturbed during the works. Cain Bio-Engineering undertook site management of the restoration and completed construction alongside Bossington Estate staff.

Project Details

Project type: River Restoration Location: Bossington Estate, Houghton Length: 450m River: River Test Clients: Bossingtion Estate/Environment Agency Nature of Contract: Design and Build Supervision Installation date: Autumn 2013

A range of river restoration techniques were used for the project including reintroduction of gravel riffles, installation of woody debris, creating a channel meander sequence, raising of the bed level using site-won gravel and channel narrowing to transform this section of river from a silt-laden channel to a classic chalk stream.  Marginal habitat was enhanced through the creation of backwater scrapes.

Before – View downstream of an over wide and silt-laden reach.
After – View downstream post restoration showing improved channel velocity, clean bed gravels and increased trout cover.
Before – View upstream of a section of the restored beat.
After – View upstream showing clean bed gravels, improved Ranunculus (weed) growth and enhanced marginal habitat.
After – Backwater scrape created to enhance marginal habitat.

Further detail can be found on the restore rivers website.