What are the digger works at Woods Mill?

, 25 August 2023
What are the digger works at Woods Mill?
Turtle Doves at Woods Mill © Neale Ambrose

Digger works are taking place at Woods Mill, starting Tuesday 29th August. Site Manager (West) Sam Buckland tells us what's happening and why:

We are carrying out these works, which should take no more than two weeks, to improve biodiversity, creating infield shallow scrapes so that House Martins can collect mud from to build their nest cups as well as allowing Turtle Doves to drink around the edges. It has the additional benefit of creating more water storage, which helps with flood management.

Meadow field © Sam Buckland
Meadow field © Sam Buckland

The contractor is working in the far meadow field next to the restoration stream field. This work has an Environment Agency FRAP exemption (ie due to helping with flood risk).

An overview of what is happening:

  • A cut (lowering the river bank) to allow water to come out of channel to fill scrapes at lower flow rates.
  • A series of shallow scrapes that fill up with flood water and stay wet after water levels have dropped, and will likely fully dry out. These will be really shallow (50cm or less depth) with gradual undulating edge to maximising their biodiversity value.
  • The material from the works will be moved to the far side of the field and flattened out. This is outside the floodplain and therefore we will increase the storage capacity of it by doing this.
  • The water trough with be moved further in field to avoid heavy poaching of the new scrapes.

Other elements we are hoping to get done whilst the diggers/contractors are onsite:

  • Removal of willow growing in the ditch/pond in the Kestrel box field and create some open water.
  • Reopen up the area between the bridge and the classroom in the leat.
  • Removing willow starting to grow in the leat.
House Martin © Derek Middleton
House Martin © Derek Middleton

No areas are currently closed off, but we appreciate everyone's cooperation steering clear of the digger and dumper.

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  • Jane Webber:

    Hadn’t visited for a few weeks so interested to see the developments in the long meadow. Already some water in the scrapes.

    Sorry that the buildings have to be sold off. Hope this won’t make a difference for visitors as we rather consider it as our back garden!

    16 Oct 2023 14:53:00