2. Delivering the Batford Springs Local Nature Reserve Plan
Themes: Ecology and management; Public engagement
- Increase the amount and quality of in-channel, bankside and floodplain habitat
- Increase public access to the river (visual and physical)
Batford Springs is a 15 acre site that was designated a Local Nature Reserve for the existence of rare spring-fed freshwater habitat as well as ancient meadow, reedbed and wet woodland.
In 2017, several key projects were developed as part of restoration plan to enhance the historical aspects of Batford Springs, improve biodiversity and visitor experience across the Local Nature Reserve. A major element of the plan is to improve and manage the network of rare chalk stream habitat that emerges alongside the course of the River Lea.
The following projects are listed in order of priority and their progress toward completion:
- New HQ building for the Batford Springs Volunteers (completed September 2017)
- Re-drilling artesian boreholes from 30m to 75m to maintain flows and improve chalk stream habitat (completed April 2018)
- Purchase and restoration of Marquis Meadows to species-rich grassland (bought January 2015)
- Restoration of spring-fed chalk stream habitat (April 2019)
- Installation of a new visitor boardwalk in the wet woodland (August 2020)
- Upgrades to unsurfaced paths across the reserve with an all-weather all-ability surface applied (August 2019)
- Creation of priority reed-fen habitat (September 2020)
- Design and installation of new interpretation boards (September 2020)
Batford Springs Volunteers are working in partnership with Harpenden Town Council to implement the restoration plan for the reserve and undertake ongoing management of its habitats. Restoration of the chalk streams in the reserve began in 2018 and work has involved stabilising and re-gravelling the collapsed stream beds, reinstating the channel banks to prevent further erosion, narrowing the channel where it is over-wide using pinned straw-bales which also help to trap sediment.
Follow this link to view the Batford Springs Management Plan.
Funding has been gratefully received towards these projects from BIFFA, Plowman Craven, Waitrose Community Scheme, The Chilterns Society and Thames Water.