13. Pond and river restoration at Digswell playing fields

Themes: Water Quality, Habitats and Wildlife; People


  • That whatever the flow level, the river and its associated habitats, including banks and floodplains, are managed to support chalk stream species
  • To increase the attractiveness, visibility and public access, to enable people to appreciate the river (commensurate with managing and protecting sensitive habitats and species)
  • To increase the public's appreciation of the unique chalk stream environment and their participation in its conservation

Project description

This project aims to create a local nature reserve by restoring a pond and section of the Mimram on Digswell playing fields. As well as benefiting wildlife, this will help inform local people about the wildlife in and around the area, and enhance the recreational value of the playing fields.

Digswell playing fields is a large recreational area bordering the Mimram, just south of Digswell viaduct. The site contains a pond which has long been neglected, and was consequently hidden from view and choked with vegetation. A main aim of this project is to remove some of the bushes and branches surrounding the pond, to let light in and to open up access points. A pond dipping platform will be installed for use by local children.

The project also aims to repair the old sluice gates by the river, and carry out environmental improvements along the river bank. Information boards will be installed, informing people about the pond and river.

As part of this project, the equipment on the adjacent children’s playground will be refurbished.

A lot of the clearance has already been carried out including clearing the Himalayan Balsam and

this year the construction of a new riverside walk and further clearing of undergrowth is planned.

We have been assisted over recent years with help from Community and Wednesday Group  Volunteers.

Finesse have also helped by cutting back some of the riverside trees and have supplied several nest boxes to encourage nesting birds.

The next phase of the improvements during this year include cleaning the pond, new seating and further tree surgery. “



Grid reference: TL24641491
Project lead: Digswell Residents Association
Project partners: Environment Agency; Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust
Funding source: LeFarge Tarmac plus local and county councillors. Affinity Water has also helped.
Project start: Summer 2012
Project end: 2016
Contact for more information: Alan Sparshott, Digswell Residents Association
Pond and river restoration at Digswell playing fields

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting.