3. Bringing Light to the Ash at Widford Meadows
Theme: Ecology and biodiversity
- Enhance the river’s morphology
- Improve the ecological health of the river bed and banks
The River Ash was enhanced as it flows through the floodplain below Widford Parish Church.
Chalk rivers like the Ash, should typically have dappled shade along their length, created by well-spaced bankside trees. As trees grow and without regular management, rivers can become over-shaded and a lack of light reaching the channel prevents in-channel and bankside plants from growing.
These aquatic plants are an important part of the river; they help to regulate water levels, generate oxygen and provide food and shelter for river wildlife.
In 2014, Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust worked in partnership with the Easneye Estate to manage the trees along 500m of river, as it flows through a floodplain meadow. To create a dappled-shade effect, trees were selectively removed, crown lifted and pollarded, with some standing deadwood left which provides excellent habitat for a range of wildlife.
Some of the trees were felled into the river and pinned securely in place, creating areas of riverbed scour and providing habitat for fish and invertebrates.