River Stour

For most of its length the River Stour forms the boundary between Essex and Suffolk but for approx 250m at Bures the original channel had, until 2009, been bypassed by a Mill Race leaving just a relic ditch with occasional pools of standing water.

The Bures Mill Automatic Barrier allowed flows into the mill pond at the end of the canalised section of the river, but formed a considerable barrier to the movement of animals upstream and was almost totally impassable to eels and other species of fish.

This project aimed to restore the original channel of the River Stour along the Essex border allowing the passage of migratory eels, provide new river habitat for otters and water voles and provide a long term improvement to food resources upstream.

The Environment Agency completed the channel works and improvements to the canoe portage over the period December 2009-January 2010. Some delay was experienced due to adverse weather conditions during this period but the sluice drop board was finally removed in February 2010 to allow the natural flow of water through the channel.

Within weeks the channel began to show signs of natural features with sand and gravels accreting on inner bends and riffles and deep pools evident along the main channel. Emergent vegetation has also colonised the restored channel, especially in areas where selective canopy clearance has occurred.

 To read a copy of the project report click here.

Bures Mill restored channel May 2012


River Stour

WFD water body status


Project type

River restoration

Benefiting species and/or habitats

Eel, Otter, Water vole, salmonids, riparian habitat

Total area covered by project


Total area surveyed


Project lead

Environment Agency

Contact for more information

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Project partners

Essex Wildlife Trust

Funding source

Environment Agency

Project start


Project end


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