Essex Rivers Hub

River Blackwater walkovers

This map shows the completed walkovers for the River Blackwater. Hover over a marker to see a summary of the walkover, click on the marker to see the full walkover details.

Alternatively, view the walkover list

This section is split between the main river and the Mill Race. The Mill Race has a slow flow with deep water and is very straight. The main river has a more natural structure with meanders, medium flow and shallow water. Both the Mill race and the main river have natural banks with a narrow strip of vegetation before amenity grass and a footpath begin. There are some trees in the section so there are small areas of shade along the channel.

This section of river has a natural structure which is fed by natural springs on the north bank. These natural springs have also created wetland areas on the north bank so the ground is quite marshy in places. The south bank is a grazing pasture so there is limited vegetation on that bank but the north bank is a combination of mixed vegetation common to river banks and also used as a Cricket Bat Willow plantation.

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.

Natural river structure with meanders, silt bars and large amounts of reed present. The banks have lots of natural vegetation but it is used as a Cricket Bat Willow plantation and during the survey we noticed areas of the bank at regular intervals had been damaged when harvesting the willows.

A natural section of river with meanders and changes in width and flow caused by riffles so the river bed is stony and gravelly in places. The banks are natural but some areas are better than others.

Upstream the channel is straightened and reinforced in places where in flows through the urban area surrounded by amenity grassland. Further downstream the surrounding land changes to grassland and arable fields and the channel becomes wider with better vegetated banks.

Channel has widened and is straighter in this section compared to downstream. The surrounding land is woodland on the east bank and a fishing lake on the west bank so there was a large area on each bank of natural relatively undisturbed habitat. The ground was quite marshy in places too.

Natural section with in-channel features such as woody debris, silt banks and aquatic vegetation which creates diverse habitats.

The river mainly has a natural structure with meanders, except for a small section where the river is diverted past some housing, where there is also a weir. There is lots of in-channel reed possibly resulting in areas of the river becoming choked at peak growing time.

This stretch has meanders upstream but not many other natural feature – generally featureless and uniform in structure.

The surrounding land mainly consists of a golf course with recent tree planting and some mature trees present also. Other land uses consist of rough grassland, scrub and Willow plantation.

The channel has steep banks and is quite wide and straight with very few natural features, although there is some woody debris in the channel which creates small areas of habitat. The banks have some natural vegetation but these are very narrow.

Natural stretch on the whole but the Mill Race brings some artificialness to the channel and the presence o f a weir is also a possible barrier to fish. The channel is also very deep in places and is probably the result of dredging.

Algal blooms are developing so high nutrients in the water are obviously a problem here.

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.

Website key stakeholders:

Environment Agency logo      Essex Wildlife Trust logo           

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