Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hogsmill Restoration

Kingston, Surrey. Sunday 16-March-14.


"The stretch of the Hogsmill River which runs through the Knights Park campus has been heavily engineered in the past, making it overly wide and lacking in habitat and a natural meandering form. Well, we are now doing something about it! With the help of the South East Rivers Trust we have already started to encourage a more natural river course by installing timber deflectors. The overall aim is to increase habitat provision and enhance the appearance of the riverside environment."
 - KU Biodiversity Action Group

The Restoration:
  • The first phase fixed five trees and one large log into the river to add habitat and create a complexity of flows
  • The second phase is the bulk of the work. Create a marginal wetland habitat which will further help the river by narrowing the excessively wide channel. This will be achieved by installing brash and introducing gravel.
  • The final phase will be planting the wetland up with a variety of native species (Wed 02-April-14, 10am-4pm).
To quote the briefing from KU BAG:

"During this second phase, we will be installing brash (small woody debris) and gravels to narrow the river channel and create areas to plant up next month. We will be staking in chestnut posts using post-knockers, then pinning brash to it using strong wire and fencing staples. Gravels will be tipped from wheelbarrows into the river and manoeuvred to sculpt banks in and around the woody material. No prior experience is necessary, just a willingness to muck in (and maybe get wet)!"

And that is what we did:

This was the third day of the second phase, three day event. First up we had to move the last of the 40 tonnes of gravel which took half the volunteers up to lunchtime.

Filling the wheelbarrows

Stakes and brash to go into the river bed

Bashing the chestnut posts in

Laying the brash in place

The locals investigate

After lunch those not installing the marginal habitat were on litter picking duty both on the banks and in the river.

Deciding how to tackle a drainpipe

By the end of the day all was in place.

Curving the brash round the end of the gravel bank

Full set of pictures in Flickr:

[How to download pictures from Flickr]

The Wandle Trust is an environmental charity dedicated to restoring and maintaining the health of the River Wandle and its catchment. They hold community river cleanups on the second Sunday of every month, up and down this unique urban chalkstream – pulling out everything from shopping trolleys to shotguns, and improving the environment for birds, fish, insects and local people. For more visit:

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