Rye Brook Project, Surrey.

The Rye Brook near Ashtead in Surrey is one example of a recent small scale, community based project where the WTT provides the river habitat expertise to a local conservation group.

This project is a partnership project between the land owner, Mrs. Daphne Burnett and the Ashtead Rye Meadows Wetlands Project, supported by Surrey Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency and the Wild Trout Trust.Rye brook before

The key objectives of the project were to create some diversity in the shape of the channel as it flows through the Rye Brook Meadows. Currently the stream is in a deeply incised channel, probably due to past land drainage work. This has resulted in a uniform channel with limited scope for a diverse range of native plants, invertebrates and fish and high banks covered with mainly dock and nettle.

rye brook berm creation

The work consisted of using a tracked excavator to create several low, bank-side shelves or berms by cutting away the high banks and redistributing the soil onto the outside edge of the flood plain. Once the basic shape was created, a team of volunteers to helped to plant up the low, boggy shelf with aquatic marginal plants that were thinned out from adjacent ditches.

rye brook planting

Other work tackled by the volunteers included using locally won woody material to create flow deflectors to scour shallow pools and pegging brashings to slow bank erosion and create valuable habitat. The volunteers also manually removed a small weir which was backing up stream flow and creating problems for fish migration. It is hoped that if deemed successful the scope of the work could be extended to help improve the ecological quality of the Rye Brook.

This work is very much driven by the local team at Ashtead Rye Meadows with the WTT bringing their specialist knowledge and skills on river habitat. It is part of a wider initiative to improve the River Mole steered by the River Mole Catchment Partnership. The RMCP is formed of around 40 organisations, groups and business developing a vision for an improved River Mole and its catchment.

For further information on WTT projects, click here.

The Rye Meadows website: http://​www​.rye​mead​ows​.org​.uk/​i​n​d​e​x​.​p​h​p​/​w​i​l​d​-​t​r​o​u​t​-​trust