Cowleys Heath

What were the issues? 

The principle objective here was to prevent further loss in an area of mire habitat where underlying materials were being lost through headward erosion and to maintain the main passageway for commoning and recreational access.

The headward erosion was occurring because of a sudden drop in gradient from practices of artificial drainage. This resulted in the faster, more erosive outpouring of water from the mire together with localised turbulence at the junction of the mire and the drain, which was eroding back into the mire vegetation and its underlying peat and gravels.

Left untreated, the mire vegetation and underlying natural materials were being significantly eroded, with a resultant loss in area of an internationally-protected habitat.

How did we fix them? 

With helpful agreement from the Verderers of the New Forest and Commoners Defence Association the bed level of the streams was raised, and a shallow channel was restored on the Open Forest. The raised bed level in the eastern mire was graded into a shallow stream down to the footbridge and then down to the boundary between Forestry Commission and private land. Short stretches of artificial drain in the mire were infilled to the same level of the existing mire and where the channel had been eroded, these bed levels were also raised.