What were the issues?
This Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is in unfavourable declining condition due to the effects of artificial drainage, which was causing increased erosion within the mire, wet heath, grassland and woodland habitats. As a result of this deeply incised channel, there was no seasonal inundation of the lawns and inconsistent interaction with the floodplain. As a result, the adjacent habitats were being negatively affected.
How did we fix them?
The eroding vegetated channel through the mire was bed levelled raised using staked heather bales. Mire vegetation was reinstated over the top.
Following transition to a stream, the original remnant meanders were incorporated where evident, with subsequent infill of the artificial drain channel through the mire, wet heath, grassland and woodland habitats. These meanders were linked by stretches of bed level raising using hoggin.
Downstream of the footbridge, the bed level raising was graded into the restoration of the original meander route and subsequent infill of the artificial drain through the heathland and grassland habitats of Ridley Green. This meander route was rejoined with the existing line of the watercourse before the boundary of Turf Croft Farm’s fields, in order to accommodate the adjacent landowner’s wishes.
In addition, work was undertaken to maintain and improve pedestrian and rider access. The footbridge and passageway at SU20960611 was in poor repair, and so was replaced with a vented causeway, to provide a safe crossing point whilst maintaining mire connectivity. A new hard crossing was created on the western mire arm at SU20870607, at the request of the Commoners Defence Association.
The wooden footbridge on Sir Dudley’s Ride was maintained, together with a side drain and culvert that discharges into the main channel just upstream of the track to the north-east of the footbridge. Other management prescriptions agreed on the site visit included clearance of any rhododendron evident on the Open Forest, and to swipe the bog myrtle on Ridley Green twice.
To download the planning application, visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/planningapplications and type in the application number 14/00611.
Filmed at Harvestslade on 11 November 2015, just four weeks after works on the site were completed