Rivers Blackwater and Pant

Millfield plantation is a private site on the banks of the River Pant, near Great Sampford. It is one of the few sites in this part of Essex which still supports a grazing operation. Thus it was in part ideal for a river restoration project. 

The river restoration at Millfield focused around the renovation and rehabilitation of an old historical feature. In this case, an old mill channel. When this mill channel was excavated is unclear but it has not had water flowing through it for a while, except in major flood events. The mill channel is a large feature on the landscape running for around 400m and then returning to the River Pant. There may have historically been some way of controlling the water to divert it to a further channel.

This feature and the possibility of reconnecting it to the River Pant is what drove this project. The benefits of this would be to create and enhance riparian habitat by enabling it to flood more frequently and store water for longer. This would also help reduce downstream flood risks. 

In terms of physically undertaking the works, we had to consider the visual impact of the pipe, the amount of water this would take from the river during times of low flow and the possibility of impact on any fish. 

Once this was all considered, to implement the project we undertook a fairly simple intervention, we installed a 300mm pipe half way up the bank. This meant that as the water rose in the river, once it is a certain level it would spill over into the old mill channel and begin to create new habitat. 

Thanks must go to Environment agency and the landowner for allowing us to undertake this project at Millfield plantation. 


Rivers Blackwater and Pant

WFD water body status


Benefiting species and/or habitats

Macrophytes and fish. Wet grassland restoration and fen creation

Project lead

Essex Wildlife Trust

Contact for more information

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Project partners

Environment Agency

Funding source

Catchment Restoration Fund

Project start


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