What’s wrong with it?
The SSSI units in this valley are in unfavourable declining condition due to the effects of artificial drainage, which is causing increased erosion of the river bed and limited channel habitat diversity, as well as limited seasonal inundation of the surrounding grassland and heathland habitats and inconsistent interaction with the floodplain, with the effect that these adjacent habitats are negatively affected.
How do we fix it?
The remedy identified to achieve favourable condition is to restore the original meandering course of the Ditchend Brook and then infill the redundant (drain) channel. In addition, the straight drain line running through Must Thorns Bottom from Pitts Wood Inclosure will be infilled, with the meandering course upstream linked in to natural drainage channels flowing through the dry heath to the south. This will follow on from earlier stream restoration work done upstream in 2008 within Pitts Wood Inclosure.
Ditchend Brook is situated within what was formerly the Live Target Area of the Ashley Walk Bombing Range, active from 1940 to 1946. Evidence indicates that there is still ordnance present, and therefore suitably qualified contractors have been engaged to safely locate, clear and dispose of any remaining ordnance prior to the commencement of any restoration work the area.
There are two gravel fords at this site, one over the Ditchend Brook and one beside Pitts Wood Inclosure. Both will be maintained for operational and public access.