Exciting proposals for Hawley Meadows

Building on our success of creating wetland habitats along the Blackwater Valley, we are currently investigating the options for flooding Hawley Meadows. This floodplain just north of the M3 often floods over the winter, providing both storage of flood waters to reduce peak flow downstream, and forms a valuable wet grassland habitat for wildflowers.

Together with our partners, one of the ideas we’re looking at is simply damming the Blackwater River at the north end of the site, just south of the A30. This will substantially reduce flow downstream towards Finchampstead and at the confluence with the River Loddon at Eversley. However the habitat improvements at Hawley Meadows could be dramatic, attracting notable wading birds such as dunlin and ruff.

The Blackwater Valley Path which is also a public footpath through Hawley Meadows would need to be kept open. So one option is to set up a line of floating pontoons anchored on posts, so the path surface would rise and fall with the water level. Alternatively we could construct a 6ft high raised boardwalk, with a simple chain ferry staffed by volunteers over the deepest patch near the dam.

We will shortly set up the public consultation for this exciting project, and review the options exactly one year from now on April Fool’s Day 2017.

Ranger Stuart

About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
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1 Response to Exciting proposals for Hawley Meadows

  1. Bernard says:

    A brilliant idea. If we could add a little more height to the dam we could probably create a world RAMSAR site. It might inconvenience a few people who live and work in that area but think of the views of wildlife and plentiful fish to catch from your house-on-stilts.
    First I must check where my house will fit in the new flood plain, if it is on the edge you get my vote.

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