Sunday, 26 September 2010

River improvements in Sluice Wood

The Environment Agency has recently carried out some repairs and improvements around the old Bottomer sluices. With the kind permission of the riparian owners, two Environment Agency staff members, Ruth Hawksley of Water for Willdlife and two heroic Naturewatchers (Jennifer Hirsh & Derek Turnidge) successfully installed two stream deflectors in the river nearby.

The deflectors, one at each bank, consist of a short line of vertical poles, angled upstream, to which are wired substantial bundles of brushwood and long faggots. These are permanent fixtures, in which silt and vegetation accumulates. Their aim is to improve the habitat for a wide range of animals. By diverting the stream to the centre they enhance its flow, thus scouring out the bed to make it more gravelly and improving oxygen levels. Fish find refuge in the 'pools' above the deflectors, and the silt and vegetation provide habitat for many species of invertebrate.

The site is fairly inaccessible and can only be approached from private land but the effect should be to improve the wildlife we see in the river elsewhere. We will be looking to see what happens on our regular river sampling trips.

The agency has also been doing similar work in Hildersham, upstream of the village hall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Something similar was done in the 1980s around the old sluice gates - around 1982/3/4 if I recall correctly. I can remember several groynes being made and a bit more care being taken of the river.
It included stocking with rainbow trout from the stretch between the welding institute and the little abington footbridge. It was a struggle home with 10+ trout in a plastic bag all having fallen to a piece of bread on a hook!
I think some brown trout were also stocked in the following years

The Aims of Abington Naturewatch

At their meeting on 9 April 2005 the members approved this revised version of the aims of Abington Naturewatch:

  • To monitor and record the wildlife (fauna & flora) within the borders of the Abingtons;
  • To encourage protection of our wildlife, maintain its quality and foster its diversity;
  • To promote awareness of the richness, potential and problems of the natural environment of the Abingtons;
  • To cooperate in improving access to the local natural environment for the benefit of all Abington villagers.

Pat Daunt, Founder

The organisation is informal and communication is by email if possible; members are notified of events from time to time. Contact details are maintained by a small "project team". There is currently no membership fee as costs are covered by voluntary contributions at events.

Members are encouraged to report notable sightings of flora and fauna within the Abingtons to the appropriate sector coordinator and an illustrated record is published annually.

A map of the area covered, with some features noted, is available here:>

For more information or to join, please contact David Farrant on (01223) 892871 or Peter Brunning via e-mail

Contributions to our records should be sent to sector contacts or either of the above. Photographs may also be submitted to Andy Merryweather (