Summer 2022 brought disruption with the promise of long-term improvements to the state of Pessal Brook to Coton in the Elms. Wooden walls designed to control the flow and retain the banks had started to rot; the banks were at risk of falling in creating a blockage, the needed to be replaced. Yet, rather than simply replacing the current set-up with a like for like – the nature and cost benefits of a soft bank approach had become evident quickly.
‘It’s great to be able to remove the straight jacket from this watercourse and allow the wetland habitats to develop naturally, in the same way that would happen on a larger river. Even better that it can demonstrate to local people what streams and rivers should look like in their natural form.’
Ruth Needham, Senior Catchment Manager at Trent Rivers Trust
It has been an absolute pleasure working with TRT and bringing about the Pessall Brook restoration a collaboration between residents, the Parish Council, Coton in Bloom, TRT and SDDC as a local farmer and District Councillor it’s a thoroughly enjoyable project and I am at my happiest wellies on in a brook.
Amy Wheelton, Local Councillor
In late September, 170 meters of Village Green saw chunks of dilapidated bank protection replaced with a pre-planted coir roll solution. At the same time, the banks along the brook were re-shaped to create a more natural and diverse stream, with the bonus of creating more space for flood water. Following two weeks of removal work which involved heavy machinery and hands-on in-stream planting efforts, Pessal Brook showed early signs of recovery. The gravel bed became visible – a quicker flow could pick up finer sediments and deposit them on seed banks further downstream. Wildlife appeared only minimally disturbed, as efforts to recover and replant as much of the greenery as possible were made.
Other parts, such as the removed grass area are still in recovery. Following the works, an initial wildflower mix was seeded. Now, as spring weather is picking once again, the plan a second wind of life. Opening this year’s planting season, local school children have been volunteering in the seeding of the riparian areas of the brook to support the village’s ambition to bring back the bloom to the renaturalised brook.
With thanks to the Environment Agency for funding the work.