39. River Beane at Waterford

Theme: Water Quality, Habitats and Wildlife


  • That whatever the flow level, the river and its associated habitats, including banks and floodplains, are managed to support chalk stream species

Project description

This is a partnership project between the Environment Agency and Countryside Management Service (Hertfordshire County Council).

Overall project objectives

  • Reduce river impoundment throughout the River Beane catchment
  • Increase opportunities for natural geomorphological processes to exist, including formation of riverine features and riparian habitat
  • Improve fish and eel passage along the River Beane
  • Contribute to Water Framework Directive (WFD) objectives through enhancement/restoration of the local ecological systems and water quality
  • Protect and improve public access adjacent to the River Beane at accessible locations (Rights of Way and Common Land)
  • Maintain improved flow to the course of the chalk stream in conjunction with restoring provision of water to Molewood Mill Race


The project consists of two areas of focus:

1. Waterford Marsh and Goldings Meadows Local Wildlife Sites: delivery of in channel and floodplain enhancements as recommended in the "Waterford Weirs" feasibility study (2017) (https://tinyurl.com/waterfordweirs)

The main objectives of this work are to:

  • Restore 1km of priority chalk stream habitat
  • Create approx. 0.5ha priority wetland habitat on floodplain
  • Allow fish and eel passage through area, providing an additional 3km of river habitat
  • Ensure ongoing public engagement with relevant landowners and stakeholders

The enhancements that will be delivered include:

  • In-channel feature installation to narrow over-wide sections of channel
  • Remove a concrete wall on Waterford Marsh, currently in poor condition, and re-profile the banks to form a more natural profile
  • Create floodplain scrapes / ponds
  • Fencing and cattle drinking points along the channel
  • Address small weirs to allow fish and eel passage
  • Maintain the Right of Way and access throughout Waterford Marsh


2. Assess opportunities relating to the breach at Waterford horeshoe weir and entrance to Molewood Mill Race by carrying out a feasibility study of various options.

The main objectives of this work are to:

  • Allow and improve fish and eel passage
  • Retain the new un-impounded river levels upstream of the weir (as sedimentation is reducing) and increased flow that is supporting recovery of chalk stream habitat
  • Provide a resilient permanent solution that protects adjacent features from future erosion (Right of Way, riverbank downstream of weir)
  • Maximise wider habitat, heritage and public enjoyment opportunities relating to the river, including re-provision of water supply to the Molewood Mill Race. 


  • Carry out feasibility study, options appraisal and produce outline design(s) of preferred option(s) for breach
  • Multiple options to be studied, including whether flow can be restored to millrace channel 
  • Ensure ongoing engagement with local community


Timeline for work

  • Spring 2021: Appoint consultant for feasibility study
  • Early Summer 2021: Improvements at Waterford Marsh
  • Summer 2021: Preferred option selected from feasibility study

Ongoing local stakeholder engagement:

  • April - June 2021: Ongoing digital comms
  • June onwards: in person stakeholder events when restrictions allow. 


Project lead: Countryside Management Service
Project partners: Environment Agency
Project start: April 2021
Contact for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting.