Friday 13 July 2012
A section of the River Misbourne, one of the Chilterns' best known chalk streams, has recently been returned to a more natural state, following a major habitat enhancement project organised by The Chilterns Chalk Streams Project and funded by the Environment Agency.
Doctor's Meadow is an area of water meadow by the Misbourne just upstream of Little Missenden. Natural chalk streams have narrow, winding channels with fast water flows that keep the gravel riverbed clear of silt and suitable for chalk stream wildlife. At Doctor's Meadow however the Misbourne lost this natural character a while ago: its channel was straightened and had widened over the years.
The Environment Agency decided to fund work to narrow the channel and give it a more natural winding alignment and contracted the Chilterns Chalk Stream Project, led by the Chilterns Conservation Board, to carry out the work in March and April this year.
Have a look at the results:
Before: a straight and wide Misbourne running through Doctor's Meadow
Re-aligning and narrowing the river channel in April 2012
After: the narrowed channel
After: a narrower, more meandering river