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Hatchford Brook Weir Removal

Work in Sheldon Country Park to re-naturalise the brook and bring wildlife back to the meadows and woodland

Job done  

  • 2 weirs removed 
  • 5 brushwood mattresses installed 
  • Gravel introduced 
  • Wet woodland habitat restored  
  • Woodland creationmanagement 
  • Annual meadow restorationcreation 



The challenge  

Some years ago, the idea of removing the weirs was only a pipe dream even though the advantages of such actions were known to us all. 

Volunteers from the Waterside Care Group

Watercourses are best thought of as a force that carries and sustains life. Over time, free-flowing water has been blocked barriers-some with a purpose that’s no longer clear. These barriers strip waterways of their energy and ability to transport gravels and nutrients further downstream. Species that use the stream’s velocity to float downstream, now dwell in slow-moving water. Nooks and crevices offering refuge have become drowned and straightened out. This has been the case at Hatchford Brook.  

Τhe upstream section of the Hatchford Brook was moved and straightened in the past, and the watercourse had become unsuitable for many wildlife species. Overwide, over deep with steep vertical banks and a flat bed, the shape of the channel made it difficult for wildlife to settle in. Two disused weirs, and a woodland left unmanaged for 40 years offered a green but unattractive space to wildlife. To inject more life into this urban park, this Capital Works project envisioned a more diverse and connected habitat including safe public access to the previously overgrown watercourse. 

The project  

Following two projects further upstream, it was time to restore the Hatchford Brook to its former glory – a babbling stream bursting with life. A key part of the work focused on making the water flow more naturally connecting habitat for aquatic species. We removed the two weirs, reshaped river banks to create a greater variety of features, replaced long lengths of nettle-covered banks with a shallower, meandering slope, and introduced gravel to enhance and create riffle beds attracting a range of species.  

Beyond the brook, we created a new wetland area to attract invertebrates and birds feeding off them including a diversified woodland to make space for smaller trees to grow and attract different species.

Steep nettle-covered riverbanks prevented access and views of the brook. Once regrown, the riverbank will see more invertebrates and birds feeding on them.

Our approach 

The Environment Agency approached us in February 2020 to investigate the removal of the two weirs and the restoration of the surrounding habitat. In July 2020, the concept was designed. A year later, funding was confirmed and the project was designed in more detail. Funding for the project came jointly from the Environment Agency and the European Regional Development Fund. Working with both the council and local Waterside Care groups we ensured that the green space was easy to manage and could be enjoyed by park visitors 

The weir blocked the natural flow of the water. The new riverbed benefits from a faster, more natural flow. The gravel that has been added oxygenates the water, making it more attractive for fish.

The impact  

Before the works, it has been impossible to see or even hear the water-now the brook is visible and audible. Also, fish are now able to migrate along the whole of the brook within the park-a few brave souls were already spotted shortly after we removed the weir! In more scientific terms, we expect a boost in biodiversity and will monitor invertebrates indicative of water quality. Now that the views are improved, and the access is easier, we also hope that people will notice the water quality, and if they see any pollution, they can ring the EA pollution hotline (tel 0800 80 70 60).  

If you listen closely you can now hear a babbling brook.

What the future holds  

The Trent Rivers Trust is looking to expand its project portfolio in urban settings. Urban rivers are under pressure, often heavily modified and at risk of diffuse and point-source pollution. Projects such as our work in Hatchford Brook can, therefore, produce high-impact results and not only create a refuge for urban wildlife but also the well-being of local people. To build on the impact of our work, we are developing a comprehensive management plan and will continue to monitor water quality.  

News for Spring 2022

Work continues to enhance the environment at Sheldon. Trent Rivers Trust is soon to undertake some management works to the woodland just north of the Coventry Road. This woodland has not been managed for over forty years.

Work will also be happening on some of the grassland; we will be introducing wildflowers that will be of benefit to birds, insects, and butterflies. They will also be attractive to look at, when in flower.

We have prepared a Sheldon CP woodland meadow leaflet and a Sheldon CP woodland management poster for local people, so they can understand and learn about the work that will be taking place.

If you have any enquires about the work please email us at





The River Starts Here! overview of what we’ve delivered

Working with lots of partners and community organisations, we have been making your streams better for wildlife and more enjoyable for people. Why not call in and see for yourself?


River-Friendly Business Awards

Local, regional, national and global firms have secured River-Friendly Business status through an initiative which is helping companies work together to tackle water pollution.

Trent Rivers Trust’s River-Friendly Business accreditation scheme is backed by the Environment Agency and Severn Trent and was launched in 2018. It awards businesses based within the Trent catchment Bronze, Silver and Gold status for helping to improve their local water environment. The overriding message is, “Only rain down the drain.”

Julie Wozniczka, who runs the River-Friendly Business scheme and is Senior Project Manager at TRT, said:

“One of the most exciting and satisfying aspects of River-Friendly Business is the way in which it has quickly nurtured a business-led network in which companies support each other to prevent water pollution, for example by hosting visits to share learning and practical steps they can implement.

“It’s also vital that businesses of all sizes take part and so we’re delighted that we now have companies taking part that range in size from nine staff to more than 1,000. Together they are not only making a real difference to the local environment but are inspiring others to get involved.”

To become a River-Friendly Business, participants follow 6 steps – from ensuring water drains that lead to brooks are clearly marked to storing oils and chemicals in bunds to contain spills. Bronze award winners make staff aware of the campaign and identify steps they can take; Silver winners carry out actions; and Gold winners embed a river-friendly ethos in their business and support other organisations. Download

The area covered by the River-Friendly Business scheme includes Alfreton, South Normanton, Huthwaite, Hilcote, Ripley, Denby, Belper, Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Heanor.

Read more about this year’s awards in our NEWS ITEM and watch a SHORT FILM of this year’s winners here.

Download the GUIDANCE and APPLICATION FORM (2020 versions are coming soon but will be very similar)

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The River Starts Here

The Trent Rivers Trust is bringing together businesses, communities and organisations to make these brooks cleaner, more enjoyable and better for wildlife. They are important tributaries of the Rivers Amber, Derwent and Erewash.

Latest projects completed

JANUARY 2022 – Coppice Brook Walk – River Derwent – Coppice Brook Walk Leaflet

A guide for a linear walk following the route of Coppice Brook from its source as a tiny stream in Ripley through undulating  countryside to the River Derwent in Belper.

Distance: 5 miles (8 km)

Returning by bus: (Buses: Catch 6.2 or 6.3 bus from Belper town centre to Ripley Market Place.
These buses broadly follow the route of the walk, and would also allow you to do the walk in smaller sections.)

Time: Allow 3 hours

OS Map: Explorer 259 (1:25,000) Derby







APRIL 2021 – Our work at Ripley Greenway – click here

You can find out more in our LEAFLET

See the film of the brook made by our volunteers HERE.

This year we have created an innovative ‘set back outfall’ and wildlife area to replace an ugly and sometimes polluting outfall.

We have also worked with volunteers to create attractive and popular paths along local brooks in Ripley and Belper.

Summary of some of the projects completed so far:

  • Supported householders to create rain gardens which have appeared on BBC2’s Gardeners World
  • Successfully conducted the country’s first ‘Outfall Safari’ outside London with local volunteers
  • Held activity days along the brooks with business and community volunteers, creating clearings and adding habitat along more than 1km of the brook
  • Awarded River Friendly Business Awards to local businesses; with BASF, EPC Groupe and Thorntons Ferrero each winning both Bronze and Silver Awards
  • Celebrated these Awards and the work of over 50 Brook Champions at our Awards Celebration. See the video of the event HERE
  • Trained volunteers to identify river flies and feed this information back to the Environment Agency to help to detect pollution
  • Worked with local groups to put on the popular ‘Streams of Wool’ which brought lots of people down to their local brook in April 2018. Take a look at our flyer for 2019  and you can also read more about the event in our latest news article

Use the map to find each location and the full list of ALL project that have been delivered to date




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