Posted: Thursday 31st October 2019
The Countryside & Rights of Way Service are restoring a section of the River Purwell in Hitchin on behalf of North Herts District Council. The project is being delivered thanks to a successful funding application to the Environment Agency’s Water Environment Grant scheme.
The River Purwell skirts around Hitchin, and the rare chalk stream habitat is subject to a range of threats including low water levels in summer, siltation, dense vegetation growth along the riverbanks, invasive plant species, and high run-off rates from urban areas following heavy rains. This project is tackling these issues on the section of river through Purwell Meadows and Walsworth Common: Riverside trees and vegetation has been coppiced to increase light levels to the river; invasive Himalayan balsam has been removed by volunteers; volunteers have also constructed flow deflectors and brash build-outs to vary the flow of water and reduce silt build up. In the coming months, two concrete culverts will be removed from Purwell Meadows and replaced with naturalised watercourses, to reduce impacts of run-off from the road network.
The project is due for completion in early 2020, ready for the arrival of spring and the ever-popular cattle.