After wetland restoration:
What are the issues?
These SSSI units are in unfavourable declining condition due to the effects of artificial drainage, which is causing increased erosion of the river bed and limited in-channel habitat diversity.
As a result of these incised channels, there is no seasonal inundation of the surrounding woodland, and no interaction with the floodplain.
In contrast, Drivers Nursery remains permanently inundated due to the lack of flow through this area. As a result, many of the oaks here are dead or dying.
How did we fix it?
The remedy identified to achieve favourable condition was to restore the original meandering course of the Highland Water through Camel Green, linking in additional meandering courses from the north (Wide Lawn) and west (following on from the Warwickslade Cutting restoration work in 2009) to flow through Queens Meadow and Drivers Nursery.
This has reconnected the river with the adjacent floodplain habitats, as well as reducing standing water levels in Drivers Nursery. The redundant straightened (drain) channel through Camel Green was then infilled, and the boundary ditch of Queens Meadow and Drivers Nursery had its bed level raised.
The restoration plan also included felling work to clear scattered trees (mostly thorn and young oaks) that have colonised Wide Lawn. The restored watercourse now flows under the gravel track running between Queens Meadow and Drivers Nursery. A bridge was installed here to take the increased flow capacity.