Wherwell Garden Riverbank Restoration

The restoration aimed to enhance biodiversity, link up the floodplain, and maintain the aesthetic appeal of the riverbank while fostering greater interaction with the river. Challenges such as steep riverbanks, limited access, and the presence of non-native species required innovative solutions for efficient project execution.

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R.J.Bull Limited were contracted to carry out the restoration of a section of riverbank in Wherwell, Hampshire. We were tasked with maintaining the biodiversity of the stretch of river whilst maximising enjoyment for the resident. This is a prime example of our commitment to environment and sustainable landscaping practices, whilst considering the aesthetic of a riverbank and its surroundings. 

What did we do?

  • Minimise light interception from ash trees and Darmera
  • Restore the natural character of the riverbank
  • Eliminate non-native species
  • Establish marginal vegetation through strategic planting
  • Utilise hazel fagots to fortify the bank
  • Facilitate client interaction with the river via a viewing platform
  • Enhance natural flood management systems
  • Preserve the garden’s semi-formal ambiance

What were the challenges?

  • Address steep riverbanks resulting from timber revetment
  • Non-native species, including Orange Balsam and Darmera
  • Large Ash trees with die back
  • Poor site access
  • Time restraints due to legislation during weed cut
  • The use of hessian matting and silt curtains preventing silt mobilisation

Before: Wherwell garden prior to works

During: Silt curtain working wherwell garden

During: Faggots going in and being backfilled with locally sourced stone and topsoil

What were the results?

The restoration aimed to enhance biodiversity, link up the floodplain, and maintain the aesthetic appeal of the riverbank while fostering greater interaction with the river.

Initial works focused on removing the negative impacts of surrounding Ash trees and non-native species, reducing light interception, competition and promoted healthier native emergent macrophyte establishment.

Naturalisation of the riverbank was achieved using locally sourced Hazel Fagots fixed with chestnut posts along the 30m bank, minimising erosion and increasing habitat diversity while providing a connection between ecosystems. The new bank narrowed the over widened channel promoting natural fluvial forms. The constructed bank was covered with hessian matting and populated with native riparian plug plants to establish robust marginal vegetation, stabilising the bank and providing wildlife habitat. The overall height of the bank was also lowered to reconnect the floodplain, aiding natural flood management during high flow events.

Finally, an Oak viewing platform was constructed to allow the client to appreciate the river’s natural beauty and ecological value providing a link between the formal garden and the river.

In conclusion, the Wherwell Garden Riverbank Restoration project showcases our commitment to environment and sustainable landscaping practices. Through innovative solutions and collaborative efforts, we have revitalised the riverbank, creating a thriving ecosystem that benefits both wildlife and human enjoyment.

During: Riparian planting through the hessian matt

After: Finished product with viewing platform