2. Delivering the Batford Springs Local Nature Reserve Plan
Themes: Ecology and management; Public engagement
- Increase public access to the river (visual and physical)
Batford Springs is a 15 acre site that was designated a Local Nature Reserve for the existence of rare spring-fed freshwater habitat, as well as ancient meadow, reedbed and wet woodland.
In 2017, several projects were identified to enhance biodiversity and visitor experience across the Local Nature Reserve. A key aim is to improve and manage the network of rare chalk stream habitats that emerges alongside the River Lea.
The following projects are listed in order of priority and their progress toward completion:
- New HQ building for the Batford Springs Volunteers (completed September 2017)
- Re-drilling artesian boreholes from 30m to 75m to maintain flows and improve chalk stream habitat (completed April 2018)
- Purchase and restoration of Marquis Meadows to species-rich grassland (bought January 2015)
- Restoration of spring-fed chalk stream habitat (ongoing)
- Installation of a new visitor boardwalk in the wet woodland (completed November 2021)
- Upgrades to unsurfaced paths across the reserve with an all-weather all-ability surface applied (ongoing)
- Creation of priority reed-fen habitat (completed November 2021)
- Design and installation of new interpretation boards (completed January 2022)
- Restoration of chalk pool with access for river dipping (completed March 2022)
- Restoration of sluice channel and installation of access point for education groups (proposed completion March 2023)
Batford Springs Volunteers are working in partnership with Harpenden Town Council to implement the restoration plan for the reserve and undertake ongoing management of its habitats. Restoration of the chalk streams in the reserve began in 2018 and work has involved stabilising and re-gravelling the collapsed stream beds, reinstating the channel banks to prevent further erosion, narrowing the channel where it is over-wide using pinned straw-bales which also help to trap sediment.
Follow this link to view the Batford Springs Management Plan.
Funding has been gratefully received towards these projects from BIFFA, Plowman Craven, Waitrose Community Scheme, The Chilterns Society and Thames Water.