Rivers Blackwater and Pant

The River Pant rises east of Saffron Walden and flows for 19km before becoming the River Blackwater at Bocking, near Braintree. From Bocking the Blackwater flows for another 61km and has two major tributaries, the River Brain and the River Chelmer, before emptying into the Blackwater estuary at Maldon.

This catchment consists of the River Blackwater and Domsey Brook. The Blackwater is 61 km long and the Domsey Brook is a tributary that flows into the Blackwater and is 7km long.

This map shows the completed walkovers along the River Blackwater, River Pant and Domsey Brook.

Click or tap a pin to see details of a walkover

A long loop of the River Pant that joins a tributary south of Wimbish to form the main channel. This is a mainly arable area, but occasional paddocks and wooded patches were also present along this stretch.

This short, straight stretch of channel joins another small watercourse at Wimbish to form the main River Pant. The channel runs through predominantly arable land, with small paddocks alongside the downstream section.

This section of river runs through rural, predominantly arable land to the south of the B1053. However, there is also a significant amount of grazed land along this stretch with horses, goats and llamas all recorded in the fields adjacent to the channel.

This stretch of the river flows from Radwinter through grazing land in the upstream of section and through arable farmland to Clay Wood downstream.

This section of the river runs downstream from Clay Wood to meet the B1051 just south of Great Sampford. This is a meandering stretch of the river with little modification to the channel.

River Pant, Great Sampford

A meandering stretch of river that is in good condition overall but shows signs of having been straightened in places. This stretch shows signs of being impacted by run off from adjoining land in parts.

River Pant, Bell Lane

This stretch of river is predominantly rural but the land use changes to surburban areas in the downstream section.

River Pant near Petches Bridge

A shallow, meandering stretch of river with natural features such as riffles and silt bars throughout. Grazing pasture adjacent to the watercourse gives way to arable land further across the valley.

This stretch of river near Shalford is a relatively narrow section, which was shallow and slow flowing at the time of the survey. The adjacent land use was variable, but the channel itself is relatively unmodified.

This stretch of river to the north of Braintree and Bocking is characterised by a relatively narrow, fast flowing channel, surrounded by arable land and woodland. 

This stretch of river is relatively unmodifed, and has a variety of land use types along the river bank, including rough grassland, arable land, and suburban habitat.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Natural section with stony bed in places and several berms which create a diversity of habitat within the channel. There are 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 section with in-channel features such as woody debris, silt banks and aquatic vegetation which create diverse habitats.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

This stretch has meanders upstream but not many other natural features – generally 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.

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