Works have just started on the ground to deliver the Kibworth and Smeeton Nature Project, a project that aims to create wetland habitat and improve the condition of the Langton Brook (Upper Welland), just south of the village of Smeeton Westerby, Leicestershire.
Like most of the streams and rivers in the UK, the Langton Brook has been historically straightened and dredged; this has resulted in the brook becoming overdeep and disconnected from its floodplain, dramatically impacting its ecological function and reducing the quality of its in-channel and riparian habitat. In addition, the brook is impacted by rural and wastewater pollution, which has led to high phosphate levels in the water.
The Kibworth and Smeeton Nature Project aims at improving the condition of the brook by restoring some of its original course and creating wetland. This will include reinstating relic meanders and excavating new shallow channels, ponds and scrapes, along with the introduction of gravels and other in-channel improvements. This will benefit local wildlife and water quality, while increasing the capacity of the area to store water at times of higher flows. Since the project area is partially crossed by public footpaths which connect Smeeton Westerby with the village of Gumley, the restored area will also provide a new natural area that the local residents can enjoy on their walks.
The project is led by East Mercia Rivers Trust, working closely with the local landowners and the Environment Agency. It is estimated that the works will be completed in approximately 6 weeks.
Stay tuned for updates on the Kibworth and Smeeton Nature Project!