Essex Rivers Hub

Straits Mill and the Blackwater River Walk

This area is local authority owned and there is extensive public access, being a popular area with dog walkers. Once the site of Straits Mill, although the mill building has since been demolished, the old mill race still remains. Interpretation boards with information about the Mill are situated near the site.

The area (land use)

The dominant land use for this stretch of river is suburban/urban.

No livestock were recorded.

Channel characteristics

The river channel consists of mainly silt, and riffles are absent.

At the time of recording the flow of water was variable and the channel was 2--5m wide and 0.5-1m in depth.

For most of this stretch the channel profile is steep.

Bankside trees were frequent, marginal plants and in-channel plants are abundant. Woody debris was noted to be occasional.

Engineering

The channel has been straightened and man-made enhancements are present along this stretch of river.

Field drains were recorded as present and barriers / culverts are present.

Condition

Areas of trampling / poaching were present and areas of erosion were present in the downstream section only at the time of the survey.

Wildlife

There was evidence of Mallard, Heron, Wren, Goldfinches and butterflies and a large number of herbs including Wild garlic, Meadowsweet, and Dog's mercury recorded at the time of the survey. A grey wagtail and a kingfisher were also recorded here during the walkover surveys.

Additional comments

Erosion is being addressed by a boardwalk. Part of the floodplain was turned into a housing development circa 1998.

This stretch of the river is bordered on the north bank by a fishing lake and old gravel workings, and to the south by recreational grassland and urban/suburban areas.

 

RBD/catchment/river/tributary

River Blackwater

Date completed

Spring 2013

Upstream Grid ref

TL7623423976

Downstream Grid ref

TL7773724343

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