Essex Rivers Hub

River Chelmer projects

This map shows the current projects; potential, in progress and completed, for the River Chelmer. Hover over a number to see a project summary, click on the number to see the full project details.

  • Project status:




    In progress



Alternatively, view the project list

Adminals Park: Renovation of historical features

Admirals Park is a large park towards the West of Chelmsford. Key features of the site include River Can which runs through the site towards its confluence with the River Chelmer, along with a number of historical relics including brickworks and old mills.

This project proposes to renovate one of these historical features namely an old mill channel for the benefit of the ecology of the river, improving a number of classifications under the Water Framework Directive.

There will be a number of renovations undertaken. The first improvement will be to open the mouth of the backchannel up to allow it to act as a fish refuge and embayment during times of high flow. This opening up will also allow emergent and aquatic vegetation to develop. There will also be some land forming in the backchannel to enhance its value. This might mean deepening areas and forming new banks and berms. There is also the potential to use this backwater channel to filtrate some of the storm water coming down through a number of storm drains before it enters the main river. An increased inundation by water will also prevent the accumulation of low Dissolved Oxygen water being flooded into the river at times of high flow, which can be extremely bad for fish.

The final element depending on how much spoil the backwater renovations produce will be to use this spoil to reinforce a section of riverbank just upstream and support with some willow spiling. This will not only prevent silt inputs into the river but also introduce some shade cooling the water in the summer months, again beneficial for local fish populations.

This project is still in the design phase, and our first step is to get a level survey of the backwater channel completed so we can determine how to go about our land forming and earthworks. Once this is complete and we have a design we can commence the consenting phase and ensure it will produce the maximum biodiversity benefits for a relatively small project.

An 'Ark' site for crayfish in Essex

Female white clawed crayfish

Essex Biodiversity Project, Essex Wildlife Trust and Essex Ecology Services LTD (EECOS) have worked together with the Environment Agency, Writtle College and Essex and Suffolk Water to create the county's first safe 'Ark' site for our threatened native crayfish – the White-clawed Crayfish. Read more...

Chelmer Valley LNR Part Two

This project builds on the original project at Chelmer Valley LNR undertaken in 2015, by installing some a further berm, installing some new scrapes and putting in an additional fish refuge, at an area just north of Chelmer Valley Bridge.  Read more...

Chelmer Valley Local Nature Reserve: Phase One

The Chelmer Valley Nature Reserve is a small local nature reserve that runs through the centre of Chelmsford; it incorporates a number of habitats including some relic fen meadows and wet woodland but also a large amount of amenity grassland. Read more...

Chelmer; Great Dunmow Park reinstatement of meanders

This section of the Chelmer has been notably straightened, but the old meander on this stretch is still evident and retains some water. A potential project to reinstate this natural feature has been identified.  Read more...

Chelmer; Hammer Hill habitat creation

This stretch of river is predominantly grazed along the banks, with most of the surrounding land given over to horse paddocks. This project will aim to reduce nutrient runoff from the surrounding grazing land by installing buffer strips along the paddocks adjacent to the river channel. Read more...

Chelmer; Little Waltham Meadows Back Channel creation and Wet woodland enhancement

 Little Waltham: River restoration project

This project was completed in March 2015 and was the first, Healthy Headwaters Catchment restoration funded project to be successfully completed. It is now used as an exemplar site to promote the multi-benefits of river restoration projects Read more...

Chelmer; Whiteleys wet woodland enhancement

This stretch of river flows through a predominantly arable landscape, but a small patch of wet woodland still remains in this area. This project seeks to extend this woodland to provide additional habitat for wildlife and to act as a buffer between the watercourse and the adjoining arable land.  Read more...

Duton Hill hedgerow planting

This stretch of the Chelmer is grazed right up to the river bank in some areas, with the predominant livestock being horses. Buffering the river corridor with areas of long grass and planting hedgerows along the paddock margins will reduce the impact of the surrounding land use on the river. Read more...

Felsted Mill and Felsted Fen wetland enhancement

This fen is under threat of drying out, and there is significant encroachment of scrub over the floodplain. This project aims to address these problems by clearing the scrub and rewetting the site. Read more...

Giant Hogweed removal

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) has been reported at Duton Hill. This invasive non-native species can produce 20,000 seeds from a single plant and is therefore capable of spreading rapidly. It also poses a risk to human health. This is currently a small project to tackle - help us tackle this area before the small problem turns into a big one! Read more...

Paper Mill Lock habitat enhancement

The floodplain in this section of the Chelmer suffers from significant problems caused by erosion and overland runoff, leading to sedimentation of the river and poor water quality. This project aims to enhance the existing wet woodland & floodplain grassland to address these problems. Read more...

Reinstatement of meanders at Hoblongs Bridge

The river corridor on this part of the Chelmer shows evidence of old meanders that are currently cut off from the main river channel, although they still retain some water. This project aims to reinstate these meanders and restore the river to its original path, whilst enhancing the wet woodland habitat nearby. Read more...

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Website key stakeholders:

Environment Agency logo      Essex Wildlife Trust logo            Essex Biodiversity Project logo

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting based on an original concept by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust