Essex Rivers Hub

Blackwater; Ferringbury, Coggeshal Hamlet

Natural section with stony bed in places and several berms which create a diversity of habitat within the channel. The is some areas of silt build up on meanders but the silty water is reduced after the farm bridge when the water becomes much more shallow and clear with some riffles. This area is impacted by a sewage treatment work which a local landowner says can affect the water quality after heavy rain.

The area (land use)

The dominant land use for this stretch of river is arable, pasture and rough grassland.

No livestock were recorded.

Channel characteristics

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

At the time of recording the flow of water was slow and the channel was 5-10m wide and <0.5m / 0.5-1m in depth.

For most of this stretch the channel profile is steep.

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

Engineering

The channel has not been straightened and man-made enhancements are present along this stretch of river.

Field drains were recorded as present and barriers / culverts are present in the downstream section only.

Condition

Areas of trampling / poaching were absent and areas of erosion were present at the time of the survey.

Wildlife

The following was seen or heard during the survey: Badger latrine, Green Woodpecker, Rabbit, Water Mint, Jack-by-the-hedge, Mole hills, King Fisher, Magpies, Crows, Comma butterfly, Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, Chiff Chaff, Buzzard, Wood Pigeon, Muntjac, Mallard, Grey Wagtail, Little Egret, Orange Tip butterfly. Otter signs were also found in this area.

Additional Information

In some cases the banks had become eroded creating vertical undercutting of the bank and the bank had also collapsed in areas creating berms.

The water had a brown colour until reaching the furthest point downstream when the water became hallow and clear. As there was also a build-up of silt in some areas this suggests the water has a high silt content in this area.

This area has natural banks with good amounts of vegetation and some in-channel plants.

Surrounding land upstream is meadows with natural streams flowing into the channel but further downstream this becomes more arable.

This area is also used as a Cricket Bat Willow plantation so there will be some disturbance to the banks and reduction to shading of the channel when these are harvested.

RBD/catchment/river/tributary

River Blackwater

Date completed

April 2014

Upstream Grid ref

TL8537221405

Downstream Grid ref

TL8629421472

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