6. Stanborough Reedmarsh and River Lea Restoration

Theme: Ecology and biodiversity


  • Maintain adequate flow for ecology and activities
  • Engage and advise the Highways Agency
  • Improve the river’s morphology
  • Improve bankside and in-channel habitat

Project description

This project aims to improve the wetland habitats of Stanborough Reedmarsh and the River Lea.

The River Lea flows for approx 1.5km through Stanborough Park and Reedmarsh. Part of the site is designated as a Local Nature Reserve, managed by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and the remainer of the site is managed by Better Leisure on behalf of Welwyn Hatfield Council.

The nature reserve contains the third largest reedbed in Hertfordshire alongside a mosaic of wet woodland and river habitats. However, due to decreases in water levels of the springs feeding the site, the reedbed is drying out and it is losing its habitat and wildlife diversity.

Linked to this is the need for improving the condition of habitats along the River Lea through Stanborough, which is accessed regularly by visitors as well as used for angling and other interests.

The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust are working in partnership with Better Leisure to restore the river and reedbed habitats, whilst encouraging sensitive access for people to enjoy the wildlfie of the river. This is part of a larger project to restore 2km of the River Lea between Lemsford and Stanborough Nature Reserves.

Between 2021 - 2025 the Trust will be:

  • Commissioning a contractor to design a river restoration scheme between Lemsford and Stanborough Nature Reserve
  • Delivering restoration work to improve habitat quality along 2km of the River Lea.
  • Undertaking work to improve flow regimes and management of Stanborough Reedmarsh
  • Carrying out ecological monitoring to assess how the restoration improves wildlife across the two sites.
    This work is being funded by Highways England as part of their Network For Nature Programme.
Grid reference: TL 230 105
Project lead: Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
Project partners: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Better Leisure
Funding source: Thames Water and Highways England
Project start: 2020
Project end: 2025
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.