Mill River Reserve was awarded £10,000 in 2018/19 for its river restoration project on the Mill River, a chalk stream and a tributary of the River Cam.

Chalk streams are a recognised priority habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). They provide habitat for a number of priority species including otters, kingfishers, water voles and Brown Trout.

The Mill River is the central spine of the Mill River Reserve, which is a 75-acre site that was created in 2015. In 2015, the Mill River was over-deepened and had filled with silt from past engineering works. The Mill River Nature Reserve Wildlife Committee, along with the South Cambs Conservation Consultants, began their plan of restoring the river and creating habitat. The overall vision for the Mill River is to re-establish a shingle bottom river that provides spawning habitat for Brown Trout.

Photo showing during and after the work to create the damp meadowWith the PEBBLE fund, the Mill River Nature Reserve Wildlife Committe and South Cambs Conservation Consultants were able to create a low lying ‘Black Poplar flood plain scrape’ which has created a damp meadow area and provides winter storage for flood water. The scrape has a ‘back water’ inlet to ensure that this area retains water all year round. They undertook some extensive tree works, removing dead and overhanging branches allowing more light to penetrate the river. 

The PEBBLE fund also allowed for a number of restoration techniques to be used on stretches of the river including raising the bed, creating riffles using gravel and narrowing of the river using woody debris. The height of the river banks have also been altered to give river bank diversity.

Photo of the river with riffle run

“The river has once again come alive with shoals of minnows, egrets, herons, kingfishers, water vole and larger fish, indeed we have had our first unconfirmed sighting of the emblematic brown trout!” 

South Cambs Conservation Consultants.

Photos of the work to narrow the river bend.
Photos by kind permission of South Cambs Conservation Consultants

Posted: August 2020
Updated: July 2021


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