Client: Stroud District Council
In periods of heavy rain Horsley was acting as a funnel to accelerate water flow into Stroud with a resulting risk of flooding.
John Robinthwaite talks about the project and how it has alleviated the flood risk in Stroud and created an improved wildlife habitat as well.
Rural sustainable drainage as part of Stroud District Council’s natural flood management scheme
Before JPR became involved with this project, the headwaters of Horsley Stream ran straight into Horsley Village at times of peak rainfall. The aim of the works was to slow the water flow over a few hours at times of heaviest rainfall.
Through a system of meandering channels, across existing fields, the water now takes two to three times as long to reach the valley.
The increased lengths of stream and the land bordering that water has increased opportunities for wildlife to thrive such as dragonflies and bullheads (a European freshwater fish). By increasing the stream length, this has increased the habitat for fauna and flora, particularly those that prefer the cold, spring waters upstream.
Victorians were proud of their straight, highly engineered rivers and streams which meant they could farm every last scrap of land possible. Today’s priorities are different with the increased risk of flooding and the desire to improve habitats for wildlife.
With the soil and clay excavated from the newly constructed ponds, we have created a leaky dam. This slows the rain water behind the dam, creating a temporary pond, which can slowly leak through the dam over a period of many hours instead of the one to two hours in times of heavy rainfall.
An over-deepened, straight ditch was infilled and replaced by a meandering shallow channel with a series of pools. This slowing of the waters provides some of the main flood risk benefit of the scheme.
Water runs down Stroud’s famous Five Valleys into the centre of town and this can create a lot of water when it rains hard. Stroud District Council have done a whole series of projects, working with local landowners and the Environment Agency, to slow the waters, JPR were pleased to work on this one.