Tributary restoration of the River Itchen

This project looked to carry out restoration works on a stretch of the River Itchen in order to improve natural light and consequently the habitats and biodiversity. This was a good example of delivering a project within a complex environment with the limited space that sometimes comes with working in a natural and wild environment. 

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R.J.Bull Limited were contracted to carry out restoration works on the Monks Brook at Chandlers Ford, a tributary of the River Itchen.

What did we do?

  • Used natural woody debris to enhance natural features of the river
  • Selective copicing to allow pockets of light through and encourage watercourse growth
  • Development of a natural environment and increased biodiversity

The Challenges

Due to the surrounding environment there were a number of elements to manage throughout the project:

  • Complex and limited space due to the natural environment meant carefully managing development to avoid too much disruption
  • Careful use and planning of the right machinery to suit the complex environment without damaging or
  • A large number of trees with TPO’s (Tree Protection Order) and nesting bats
  • Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed also severely restricted our movements on site

Natural bank structures with cleared watercourse to allow light

The natural pools with plenty of new light

What were the results?

The completed works increased biodiversity and utilised the flow of the stream helping to create natural pools and riffles, without increasing flood risks due to the low level structures. Selective copicing has also ‘shed new light’ on what was a forgotten stream.