A natural route for rivers
We piloted a pioneering project to revert rivers to their natural path before any human involvement, called Stage 0. The plan reverted a tributary of the Aller river to its original course before human intervention. The work is now being developed over 33 acres (13 hectares) on the main River Aller. The first stage of the project is underway with careful earthworks creating shallowly skimmed areas to reset the valley bottom and natural river flow.
Developing ecological diversity
Earthmoving equipment is being used to allow a more natural flow to connect a stream and wetland system. After this work is complete habitat restoration will be ‘fast tracked’ by using woody debris and key plant species to help develop more hydrological and ecological diversity on the site. This creates the kind of conditions that might have existed before – prior to the river system being heavily managed, with the river itself modified into a single channel. The work also allows for more water to be stored in the water table to help in times of drought.
Floodplain wildflower seeds such as ragged robin, devil’s-bit scabious and meadowsweet have been sown during the autumn. And next spring, further work will enrich the habitat, including the planting of about 25,000 native trees such as willow, bird cherry and black poplar.