River Chelmer

This catchment includes the whole of the Chelmer, Stebbing Brook, Boreham Brook and Sandon Brook. The Chelmer is 65km, Sandon Brook is 28km and Boreham Brook is 3km in length.

This map shows the current projects; potential, in progress and completed, for the River Chelmer.

Project status




    In progress



Click or tap a number to view the project details











A new action group was formed in 2017 at Langford, Essex to tackle the invasive non-native species Floating Pennywort Hydrocotyle ranunculoides in a 10 mile stretch of the river Chelmer between Springfield in Chelmsford, and Heybridge in Maldon which will help to protect the local environment and keep local waterways open for everyone to enjoy.

The Chelmer Valley Nature Reserve is a small local nature reserve that runs through the centre of Chelmsford; it incorporates a number of habitats including some relic fen meadows and wet woodland but also a large amount of amenity grassland.

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) has been reported at Duton Hill. This invasive non-native species can produce 20,000 seeds from a single plant and is therefore capable of spreading rapidly. It also poses a risk to human health. This is currently a small project to tackle – help us tackle this area before the small problem turns into a big one!

Female white clawed crayfish

Essex Biodiversity Project, Essex Wildlife Trust and Essex Ecology Services LTD (EECOS) have worked together with the Environment Agency, Writtle College and Essex and Suffolk Water to create the county's first safe 'Ark' site for our threatened native crayfish – the White-clawed Crayfish.

This project builds on the original project at Chelmer Valley LNR undertaken in 2015, by installing some a further berm, installing some new scrapes and putting in an additional fish refuge, at an area just north of Chelmer Valley Bridge. 

This section of the Chelmer has been notably straightened, but the old meander on this stretch is still evident and retains some water. A potential project to reinstate this natural feature has been identified. 

The river corridor on this part of the Chelmer shows evidence of old meanders that are currently cut off from the main river channel, although they still retain some water. This project aims to reinstate these meanders and restore the river to its original path, whilst enhancing the wet woodland habitat nearby.

This fen is under threat of drying out, and there is significant encroachment of scrub over the floodplain. This project aims to address these problems by clearing the scrub and rewetting the site.

Little Waltham: river restoration project

This project was completed in March 2015 and was the first, Healthy Headwaters Catchment restoration funded project to be successfully completed. It is now used as an exemplar site to promote the multi-benefits of river restoration projects including correct riparian management, flood alleviation and creation of new habitat for the benefit of biodiversity.

The floodplain in this section of the Chelmer suffers from significant problems caused by erosion and overland runoff, leading to sedimentation of the river and poor water quality. This project aims to enhance the existing wet woodland and floodplain grassland to address these problems.

Website key stakeholders:

Environment Agency logo      Essex Wildlife Trust logo           ESWT Logo 70

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting based on an original concept by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust