SRA Annual report 2019-20: Triple C match-funded natural flood management schemes

The EU’s Interreg 2 Seas part-funds Hills to Levels through the Triple C initiative.

The three Cs stand for Climate resilient, Community-based, and Catchment planning and management. The SRA match-funds Triple C schemes in Somerset.

In April 2019, a short film showcasing Hills to Levels won First Prize in the Interreg 2 Seas Video Awards.

Activities in 2019-20

Chapel Allerton, near Ashton Windmill: More than 20 metres of filter fencing and two rolls of coir matting were installed to retain more water and sediment in a field. Water running off was causing prolonged road flooding. This scheme began life as a Highways Referral: for the full story go to the Sedgemoor section of Highways Referrals.

Chesterblade – Banks Farm: Five leaky woody dams were built in a cascade along the stream that runs from the north side of Small Down Knoll towards Chesterblade Bottom. Some of the dams used living trees as anchors. The dams quickly began to take effect and slow the flow of water locally.

Dommett – Folly Farmyard: A small pond has been created along a flow pathway to complement a larger water retention pond previously funded by the SRA. The new pond temporarily holds water so that sediment can settle out, then eventually water overflows into the larger pond. In this way the new pond helps to stop the larger main pond from silting-up, so the bigger pond keeps more of its water storage capacity. Both ponds also – in a woodland setting – are good for wildlife.

The farmer here has been an enthusiastic supporter of measures to slow the flow of water down through the catchment of the River Ding, which feeds into the River Parrett. In 2018-19, for example, hedge-laying techniques were adapted to create living, green wood dams with saplings of willow and hazel hinged across a watercourse. Observations over the last year suggest this hingeing technique has been working well. As a living thing, the dam is likely to serve for longer.

Wiveliscombe, Goulds Farm: A 105 metre bank has been created and a hedge planted on top of it with native species (hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, dogwood, spindle, field maple and Guelder rose). The bank and hedge have been fenced, and this cross-slope ensemble is now slowing field run-off and limiting flow erosion pathways from the farm’s uphill boundary.

The bank and hedge are also helping to direct more run-off down to a bund and pond funded by the SRA in 2017. 0n 3 March 2020 – during the wet winter – the farmer said he was “pleased to report that both our pond and bund have been working really well over the last few weeks”.

A 2018-19 follow-up

Cothelstone: In 2018-19, two phases of work were completed at Cothelstone. Briefly, in phase one, a large pond was de-silted. In phase two, a sluice structure was installed to enable the pond to operate as a leaky pond that could store more water and then release it slowly. Phase one was funded by the SRA, phase two by the SRA and Triple C.

Phase 3 in 2019-20 involved the restoration of a historic silt trap upstream. This work was funded by Triple C and the landowner. The whole three-part scheme will increase water storage capacity in the Back Stream catchment by at least 3,700 cubic metres.

Back Stream feeds into Norton Brook which joins the River Tone near Silk Mills Road in Taunton.

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