‘Fantastic difference’ to the look of brook
Volunteers create ‘berms’ to attract more wildlife
A KILOMETRE of a Green Flag-winning brook has been completely restored, thanks to the help of 85 local volunteers.
London Wildlife Trust, with the help of unpaid volunteers and £41,371 in funding from SITA Trust, have been encouraging nature to return to Yeading Brook Meadows.
The trust cleared much of the dense scrub from the sides of the river and has created sixteen ‘berms’ along the river banks, which mimic the meanders and curves of a natural river.
The berms change the flow of water, creating fast and slow spots that favour different species of fish, aquatic invertebrates and plant life.
Each berm was made from hawthorn and blackthorn, harvested from the stream bank and held in place by wooden stakes.
Tom White, conservation project officer with London Wildlife Trust, said: “With the awesome help of numerous volunteers and funding from SITA Trust, we’ve been able to make a fantastic difference to this stretch of the Yeading Brook.
“An overgrown, canalised stretch of river has been transformed into a wildlife friendly watercourse.
“Aquatic life is returning fast, with kingfishers and numerous fish species being sighted by our volunteers. We hope it’s only going to get better over the coming years!”
Yeading Brook Meadows is a nature reserve managed by London Wildlife Trust, which was given a Green Flag Award in July 2015, in recognition of the high quality of the reserve.
The natural flow of the river had previously been forced into a straight, artificial channel, drastically reducing the brook’s appeal to wildlife.
The banks had also become densely overgrown with scrub, reducing the amount of light that could reach the water.
Marianne Ivin, of SITA Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been able to help with the restoration of the Yeading Brook project.
“It is clear that in a relatively short time [for wildlife] the changes have started to make an impact. It will be great to see how the area develops into the future.”
The natural river bed was gouged out when the brook was straightened years ago, so the trust oversaw the creation of eight gravel ‘riffles’.
These short stretches of shallow, bubbly water improve the river’s flow for a variety of aquatic life and provide an ideal spot for fish to lay their eggs.
Large amounts of Himalayan balsam, a plant that tends to smother other vegetation, was also uprooted and cleared along 1,800m of the river bank, allowing a richer range of plants to flourish.
n TRANSFORMATION: Volunteers help to create berms along Yeading Brook