Cycle past the Wandle River Restoration Project, whilst riding for rivers at this year’s London to Brighton cycle ride for The Rivers Trust

Jayne Mann


Cycling 54miles up and down hills might not be the most idyllic way to spend your Sunday but knowing you’re doing it for a good cause and seeing benefits of your support whilst at this year's London to Brighton cycle ride, might ease the pain a little.

That’s why we’ve signed up to ask supporters to ride for rivers at this year’s London to Brighton renown cycle ride. One of the key areas that you’ll pass whilst en route, includes the Wandle River Restoration Project on Nightingale Road near Hackbridge. Glance over the river as you cross the bridge and know the efforts that have gone on behind the scenes to improve the river network in the area. The Wandle River Restoration Project was set up to improve the biodiversity and resilience of the upper Wandle, working to restore the Wandle chalkstream to its former glory. With less than 200 remaining worldwide, it is vital chalkstreams, such as the Wandle, are protected for wildlife and future generations. Before-river-wandle-river-web Image above: Before Started in September 2012, the project removed four weirs, made improvements to an important fish pass and created a backwater. In total, over 250 tonnes of gravel were added to enhance geomorphology and habitats, as well as putting in place 6000 plants, with local volunteers. After detailed planning, the work on the ground was delivered during Summer 2014 and started by re-profiling a new bank line. The weir structures either side of the island were removed and the river channel narrowed using a combination of chestnut posts and hazel faggot bundles or gabion stone. New-island-river-wandle-project-web Image above: New banks put in place A causeway was built to create a backwater pond area using coir geotextile layered over a bed of stone and weighed down with gravel and sediment and planted with aquatic plants. Gravels-river-wandle-project-web Image above: 250 tonnes of gravel put in place to help with fish habitats The new island banks were re-graded to create a gradually sloped bank to which a variety of aquatic vegetation was planted with a team of 60 volunteers over three days. Variations in depth, width and the introduction of gravel, small boulders and Large Woody Debris have all provided a diversity of habitats and increased the flow diversity of the channel throughout the site. London-to-brighton-bike-ride-river-wandle-restoration Image above: After This project was delivered by South East Rivers Trust and supported by Defra (Catchment Restoration Fund), Environment Agency, Living Wandle Landscape Partnership, London Borough of Sutton and Rydon Construction. Support more projects like this and take on the challenge of the London to Brighton cycle ride, sign up here.
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