Habitat enhancement at Sarratt

Habitat enhancement at Sarratt

A habitat enhancement project is well underway on the R. Chess at Crestyl in Sarratt, where the CCSP has been providing expertise and guidance to the landowner whose family have been working the site for 140 years.

The primary objective of the work is to restore the channel to a more diverse, natural looking watercourse that better supports juvenile and mature trout, as well as other species such as water vole and water shrew.

Using flint gravel and large woody material, features have been reintroduced to the river, which help to restore the variation in depth, flow types and habitat found in more natural river systems. Fish passage has been eased through the removal of three weirs and the replacement of two other impounding structures, and material previously used in bank reinforcement activity has also been removed. A section of watercress bed is being repurposed to create a natural looking pond to further expand the range of habitats in the area.

Figure 1 – Below weir removal (left) and volunteers installing a large woody structure (right)

It is hoped that these improvements will attract and support a wider range of wildlife, with increased growth of in-channel and marginal vegetation providing food sources and safe refuge for fish, small mammals and macroinvertebrates.

The work is being carried out by the landowner, members of the CCSP team, and volunteers and staff members from the Chiltern Rangers.