Essex Rivers Hub

River Mardyke projects

This map shows the current projects; potential, in progress and completed, for the River Mardyke. 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

This area is described as the Fields of Peace by local people and it is a pleasant area along the banks of the Mardyke and is surprisingly tranquil.

Davy Down is a Country Park that is situated, in part, on the bank of the Mardyke just upstream from the viaduct. This area offers a variety of habitats and is popular with local residents.

This weir is a potential barrier to migrating fish and eels during low flow.

There are many field drains entering the Mardyke in the Arable area in South Ockendon and beyond. These drains allow water to flow off the fields so they don't become water logged, however this water carries silt, phosphate and some pesticides into the river that can cause a variety of problems to the water environment. 

Just downstream from the viaduct near Davy Down there is a sewage overflow point which deposits diluted untreated water.  This occurs when there is heavy or long periods of rain and the system becomes inundated, so releasing it into the Mardyke untreated is necessary to prevent damage to the sewage system.

There are many ditches entering the channel in this area and the source of many of them is unknown. Some have been fenced allowing scrub and other plants to develop while others have not.

Expansion of improvements already made in this area which currently including tree planting and management of grassland.

To work with Thurrock Counci and the tenent grazier to look at the current management of the grazed area and address any problems that are impacting on the grassland and aquatic communities.

The flood plain grassland, which is managed through horse grazing, has little to offer in terms of habitats for aquatic species. The channel is very steep banked, wide, straight, no tree cover and little bankside vegetaion.

Invasive species such as Himalayan Balsam, Floating Pennywort, Parrots Feather, New Zealand Pygmy Weed, American Mink, Chinese Mitten crab and many more can be very damaging to the river habitat by dominating banks, which limits the number of native species that grow, leaving bare banks over winter increasing the amount of sediment that enters the channel, killing native species or undermining banks.

These major roads cross the river channel in the form of bridges far above the channel. These bridges result in rubbish and debris littering the channel itself and surrounding land.

Misconnections are when toilets, sinks and washing machines are plumbed into the wrong pipe and pump directly into the river rather that throught the sewage treatment works.

At present there is little public access to the Mardyke river valley between Tank Hill Road and Ship Lane. We would like to see a continuous footpath creation from the Thames along the whole of the Mardyke River valley.

These fens are now arable fields but were once this rare habitat.

Currently the banks are covered in dense scrub and trees which is causing the channel to become very shaded. This reduces the potential for in-channel vegetation to develop and also makes access to the bank edge almost impossible. The banks are also concrete reinforced which prevents interactions between bankside and in channel habitats.

At this location there is a sluice gate that controls the water flow between the Mardyke and the Thames. Currently the sluice gates are opened once or twice daily to allow flow into the Thames.

This sewage treatment works has a substantial reed bed close to the bank of the Mardyke which is part of the sewage treatment process

Work with landowners to improve area on south bank. They already work extensively on improving the woodland for wildlife so the hope is to continue this good work to incorporate the river habitat to  increase the biodiversity of the area.

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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