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Improvement works set to begin on Rediscovering the River Colne programme

Physical improvements to the River Colne will soon be underway, as Phase 1 of Watford Borough Council’s Rediscovering the River Colne programme begins this autumn...

The improvements, which will be conducted in partnership with our environmental partner Groundwork, are the result of extensive assessment, investigation and modelling of key sites across the river. Phase 1 will focus on the northern sites, and will include Knutsford Playing Fields, Timberlake Allotments, Radlett Road Recreation Area, and Waterfield Recreation Area.

The improvements are part of the council’s 10-year Rediscovering the River Colne programme, which aims to improve and revive the river for both nature and people – creating a healthy river corridor with cleaner water and restored habitats, so that native mammals, birds, fish, insects and plants can return to the river and its banks. The works will occur in two phases. The first will take place in the autumn and winter of 2022/23, focussing on improving the river corridor. Such changes include improving the river banks to create more healthy habitats for plants, animals, birds and insects; inserting stakes at the edge of the river that vary the river flow so that sediment doesn’t build up (if there’s too much sediment then fish can’t spawn); and using hinged trees that bend into the river to vary the flow, while providing new habitats for birds and other creatures.

Plans also include the reconnection of the river to backwaters, and the management of reed beds to open up the area and create a diverse habitat. Combined, these works will improve the overall health of the river, enhance water quality, increase biodiversity and offer refuges to various species.

There will also be volunteering opportunities for local people to help install some of these key features as the programme progresses. These vital activities may include litter picking, vegetation clearance, berm installation, and native planting. More information on these opportunities will be shared closer to the time. For more information, click here.

Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said, “We’re so excited to finally begin the Phase 1 improvements to the River Colne. A massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to restoring our beloved river so far – your help has been invaluable, and is playing an enormous part in once again making the Colne a fantastic place for both people and nature!”

Gill Taylor, Operations Director at Groundwork East, said “Groundwork is delighted that the plans for the river improvement works are progressing well, and that work will begin towards the end of the year. The commitment of Watford Borough Council to tackle a project of this scale is inspiring, as has been the engagement of the community in all the project activity to date. We look forward to actively supporting the programme going forwards.”

For a comprehensive breakdown of Phase 1 of the Rediscovering the River Colne programme, please click here.

Radlett road artistic impression

Timberlake Allotments artistic impression

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