Rivers Blackwater and Pant

Following river walkover surveys of the Blackwater in 2012 a river restoration project was proposed to enhance the river corridor along the local authority owned Blackwater River Walk between Braintree and Bocking. 

The initial surveys indicated that there were two major issues at the site. These were a lack of bankside vegetation and several erosion points that were pushing silt into the river. Silt entering river is a big issue as it smothers natural gravel and shingles, which are the most biodiverse areas of rivers. A lack of bankside vegetation also reduces the opportunities for insects and reduces the overall riparian habitat quality.

The project, therefore, proposes to halt the erosion points and introduce bankside vegetation by using pre-planted coir rolls, which not only offer a physical barrier to silt inputs but also, by virtue of being pre-planted, bring bankside vegetation with them. 

Bocking_before.jpgA typical stretch of river at Bocking Blackwater.


After_bocking.jpgA year later.

During the works, we also used Hazel fencing to protect an area of the river known locally as the ‘Dogpond’. This area was particularly bad for erosion and silt inputs and was so bad that it was starting to put the nearby footpath in danger of falling into the river. Therefore by using hazel spiling we were able to prevent this bankside from being eroded further and prevent the silt from entering the river.  

BeforeBocking.jpgBefore at the dog pond.

 AfterBBBBBB.jpgA year later.

A year later the site has recovered well, with good establishment of the vegetation in all areas. As part of the project, we also undertook other areas slightly further upstream, again focusing on erosion points and introducing vegetation. 

We are grateful for the support of Amanda Turbuville at Braintree District Council and the Environment Agency for funding. 



Rivers Blackwater and Pant

WFD water body status


Project type

River Restoration

Benefiting species and/or habitats

Wet Woodland bankside vegetation ponds

Total area surveyed


Project lead

Essex Wildlife Trust

Contact for more information

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Project partners

Environment Agency

Funding source

Catchment Restoration Fund

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