SRA Annual Report 2018-19: Schemes begun or completed during the year (W2)

There is usually a time-lag between grants for schemes being approved by the SRA and work being done at sites by contractors. So although the SRA approved 54 grant applications in 2018- 19, this does not mean that people always sprang into action immediately afterwards. All sorts of factors can affect timings, such as contractors’ availability and the seasons. It would be daft to plant trees in July, for example.

Capital Grant Schemes

Barrington – Hill Farm, Westmoor Main Drain, Parrett catchment

Two hundred trees have been planted on sloping land above Barrington as part of a multi-pronged SRA attack on flooding problems resulting from run-off down Bonning’s Lane. The trees will help to stabilise soil, reduce run-off and slow the flow of water. See also the entry on the previous page for Barrington under ‘Parrett Catchment’. These schemes stem from – and are supported by – Barrington Parish Council.

Binegar Bottom – Mells River source catchment

A leaky pond, scrape and bund have been created on the south side of Binegar Bottom, to store rapid run-off and reduce peak flood flows. Lower Binegar and Gurney Slade are in a high flood risk zone 3. The last floods were in 2013 following heavy rain on a saturated catchment. This scheme was led by Binegar Parish Council, following advice from FWAG SW.

Bruton – River Brue

Brue Crew volunteers have been improving the Brue near Church Bridge in Bruton town centre, following detailed discussions with Somerset Wildlife Trust, The Wild Trout Trust and the Environment Agency. The weir has been v-notched to help draw flow, particularly during the summer. Other moves are planned in 2019-20.

Compton Durville – Lambrook Brook, Parrett catchment – (x2)

Two grants were given for a package of works including a bund with a leaky outlet, inlet and outlet swales, de-silting of ditches, an upgraded trash screen plus de-silting, and culvert-jetting. Adaptations were also made to a  large new pond to enable 2,300m3 of floodwater storage, with a leaky outlet to control the water level. These works have reduced flood risks at Picken Bridge, Shapway and downstream in Mid Lambrook, East Lambrook and beyond.

Cothelstone – tributary of Back Stream, River Tone catchment

Around 4,950m2 of a very large pond upstream of Bishop’s Lydeard has been de-silted to allow for the storage of an additional 3700m3 of water. In some areas, the silt was two metres deep. Phase 1 of a bigger scheme; Phase 2 involved SRA and Triple C funding. See Triple C section.

Croford – tributary of Hillfarance Brook, Tone catchment – (x2)

A leaky pond has been created on Knights Farm land near Cotcombe Wood to divert peak flows from the Hillfarance Brook tributary and then slowly release stored water back into it. The pond was also fenced to avoid its banks being churned up by livestock.

Crowcombe – Leigh Mill Bridge, Lee Lane, Doniford Stream – (x2)

A second phase of works following a 2017-18 scheme. The new works included fine-tuning dams, creating an additional brash dam, installing a flow spreader and planting 350 trees to help 1) increase the surface roughness of the floodplain and slow the flow, 2) take up water to reduce peak flow, and 3) stabilise the soil to reduce erosion which would otherwise cause sedimentation downstream.

Dommett – Folly Farmyard (Buckland St Mary), River Ding, Parrett catchment

A new technique of hingeing living trees into a watercourse is being trialled here as part of a series of NFM works designed with an enthusiastic farmer. Hingeing involves adapting hedge- laying techniques to create living, green wood dams with saplings of willow and hazel. Other works included improving an existing leaky pond outlet, adding another leaky pond to make a cascade and increase storage capacity, and excavating around an old lime kiln to fine- tune flow paths.

Fitzhead parish – Goulds Farm between Ford and Hoccombe, Tributary of Halse Water, Tone catchment

A drainage pipe and leaky dam have been installed to improve the connectivity between roadside and boundary ditches and a pond previously created with SRA funding. The pond had not been filling up as often as desired – but it is now. It takes excess water from the road and reduces overtopping of ditches and overland run-off.

Holnicote Estate – Horner Water catchment and River Aller catchment – (x2)

Natural flood management works were completed at Hurdledown, between Exford and Porlock, and at Lower Selworthy Farm. Both schemes were part of the National Trust’s major Riverlands initiative on its 12,000-acre Holnicote estate.

At Hurdledown, 280 metres of hedgerow were planted with 1000 young beech trees to help slow the flow of rainfall down the Horner valley.

At Lower Selworthy, works focused on a main location for River Aller catchment run-off, namely slopes running down towards the A39. Improvements included the creation of riparian corridor and habitat through the fencing-off of key areas and the creation of swales and scrapes.

Both initiatives were funded by the SRA and the EU’s Interreg 2 Seas programme as part of Somerset’s new Co-Adapt programme. Co-Adapt is aiming to increase local resilience to the water- related effects of climate change: flooding and droughts. More Holnicote works are planned for 2019-20.

Luxborough – Monkham Farm, Upper Washford River

Three cross drains and two silt traps have been installed at Monkham Farm to catch and divert run-off water away from the road and village.

Stoney Stoke – Stoke Farm, tributary of River Pitt and Upper Brue – (x2)

Two thousand trees have been planted to create 1.25 hectares of new woodland strip either side of a watercourse, with 1100 metres of fence re-positioned to allow for this. The aim is to absorb run-off from adjacent slopes and to slow down the movement of water. There are also plans to install six woody dams.

Thorne St Margaret – Rewe Farm, Upper Tone, Tone catchment

The SRA contributed 40% towards the cost of trees planted in a field above a steep bank that had previously collapsed onto the road. The trees will help to prevent future landslides by binding soil with their roots and drawing up water. The Woodland Trust gave the other 60%. See the Triple C section for more about Rewe Farm.

West Bagborough, Stout Lane, Back Stream, Tone catchment

A scheme to re-direct heavy flows of water from Stout Lane into Fuzzy Down field by digging out a grip and ditch and building a bund. This scheme will help to reduce the amount of water reaching West Bagborough. It was delivered for the SRA by Somerset County Council’s Rights of Way section as part of a series of SRA-funded works in this part of the Quantocks.

Yeovil – (Brympton parish), Lufton, Wellhams Brook, Parrett catchment – (x3)

More natural flood management works have been completed on the outskirts of Yeovil. Eight leaky woody dams have been created near Lufton College to slow the flow of water entering Wellhams Brook, and major pond improvement works have been carried out at Manor Farm, Lufton. Hydraulic modelling has been done for the Wellhams Brook catchment to investigate the effects that natural flood structures may have. The study suggests that with all the structures proposed and installed, including flood water storage ponds and leaky dams, flood peaks may be reduced by just over a quarter (25.6%) during floods that have a 20% chance of happening every year.

Waterrow – Hurstone Farm, Upper Tone – (x2)

Two grants were given for de-silting an existing pond and adapting its outlet to divert overflow into a new leaky pond, constructing four brash dams, de-silting a historic mill leat, filling floodplain gullies and installing coir matting to prevent loss of soil into the river, and taking excess spoil off the floodplain. Further works are planned.

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