During severe weather conditions at the end of March 2016, the waterfall at the end of the Broadwater was under so much pressure that it breached its banks on the northern side, removing the Broadwater’s ability to retain water.
Woodhall Estate and Affinity water have taken this opportunity to undertake a significant renovation project to remove the sediment within the Broadwater, repair the historic weir, and to re- establish 1.4 kilometres of rare chalk stream environment, by diverting the river around the two weirs in the park.
This will have significant environmental benefits by improving the water quality in the Broadwater and allowing fish passage to a significant stretch of the River Beane, linking it to other river improvement projects in both directions. Detailed surveys have been undertaken to ensure that the new channel and Broadwater have the capacity to cope with future water volumes, whilst providing as much environmental benefit as possible.
Phase 1 of the project started in November 2017 from the triple weir below Clusterbolts wood, up to the Tumbling Bay by the bridge at Home farm. Trees have been selectively removed to allow much needed light onto the river and a new river channel has been formed, meandering through the adjacent field. This has been recently completed and the first river-side and in-channel vegetation is starting to establish after being moved from the Broadwater before works commenced.
Phase 2 is the area up-stream of Home Farm, which has just started. The renovation of the weir and penstock is underway and silt is being dug out of the lake bed to commence the drying process before being deposited to benefit fertility on agricultural land. The engineers are currently marking out the course in preparation of construction of the new river channel, which will run adjacent to the Broadwater.
This is an exciting project which has relied on a great deal of planning and co-operation by a range of organisations to ensure that it works for the greatest amenity benefit within the park and create as much positive conservation value as possible. We look forward to seeing this environment flourish once the work is finished. The works are planned to complete by winter 2018.