Thames Water River Project Update June 2020

by | Jun 10, 2020 |

A lot of work has been going on in the background designing the restoration of the river and getting all the permissions required to do the work. It is very exciting that we can now break ground at two sites.

Wye Dene

At Wye Dene we are extending the restoration we started at the old Water Cress beds downstream see  Revitilising the watercress beds.  Specialist contractors were employed at Wye Dene by us to start the process of felling to provide us with materials to build the woody structures in the design.  This also reduced the risk to a Thames Water sewage pipe that runs alongside the trees.  Rangers Paul and Leila visited early in June and cleared the channel that was getting blocked by vegetation at the watercress beds and made a start on the new section.

Our Wye Wednesday Afternoon sub-project started with the first group of pupils being introduced to River Fly Monitoring at the Wye Dene Site and our River Volunteers and Beaconsfield High Sixth Form Students have been able to meet weekly due to additional funding from Wycombe District Council at their Kingsmead Rec Site. 

A highlight was a multiple funder event on 26/02/20 with over 100 volunteers of all ages and abilities working together, installing art, time capsules, planting conservation hedgerow and cowslips, coppicing, litter clearing etc!  See photos below of this event.

Many users of Kingsmead Park have commented on the improvements to the path network, visibility of the river, light levels, planting and interpretation as we work. 

West Wycombe Park
At the beginning the Chiltern Rangers team started felling at West Wycombe Park without volunteers, unfortunately, due to the pandemic.  This is to bring light back to the river and for materials to build woody structures in the river to narrow it and increase the flow.  Post lock down it was exciting to be able to work with our first volunteers on a couple of days as we began to build and dismantle a weir that was blocking fish passage and impeding the flow. One of the most satisfying outcomes of this work is to see sections of  the river restore so quickly with a silty river bed replaced with clear fast moving water flowing over a gravelly bed.

See photos of West Wycombe Park below.


We are pleased to report that in the first quarter of the year, before lock down, we have delivered 11 community engagement events at 4 different sites covering over 2km of river engaging  251 volunteers and support from 17 community groups.

We encourage our volunteers to learn new skills where possible and during this project they have learned coppicing, carpentry, hedge planting techniques etc. Key volunteers have been introduced to chipper operation and we are identifying training opportunities for them to get formal tickets to build Chiltern Rangers capacity and demonstrate their value as volunteers.