Scheme 06: Horsbere Brook

Riparian restoration plus associated habitats

Located within the Longlevens and Elmbridge Wards

Habitat creation and bio-diversity improvements are planned for several Public Open Space (POS) locations along the Horsbere Brook.

At the Horsbere Flood Storage Area in Barnwood we intend to compliment the great work currently undertaken by the Friends Group; we propose to develop native tree planting, expand wildflower meadows and introduce native bulbs planting areas to enhance bio-diversity and habitat.

It is planned to enhance the Sandyleaze public open space off Liddington Road by the creation of wildflower meadow and supplemented with native tree planting.  A careful maintenance regime will be put in place to ensure that the area will benefit habitat and bio-diversity, while providing a more attractive location for low-level physical activity such as walking.  In this section of the Horsbere Brook we intend to create a two-stage channel and introduce natural bank protection to reduce the risk of bank collapse.

Further downstream on the Horsbere Brook is the Innsworth Lane public open space in Longlevens, referred to as Little Normans.  At this location we are planning to create a wildflower meadow and a shallow wetland scrape that will be supplemented with native tree planting to encourage bio-diversity and create habitat for wildlife.

In the relatively small area off Lacy Close we're proposing to introduce a change of grass management to aid pollinators. Additional bulb and tree planting will be carried out to improve bio-diversity whilst engaging the public.


June 2023

Works for these sites are now completed and are being managed as meadows with reduced cutting over the summer months to allow the areas to provide habitat for the native wildlife and improve biodiversity.

Over 100 standalone trees have been planted across these 4 sites along with many more younger saplings woodland areas.  This includes a small apple orchard within the Sandyleaze site.

Lacy Close nursery crop helping the wildflower meadow establish

Installed bench at Horsbere FAS Mound amongst the new whip woodland

October 2021

Works are nearing completion at the Horsbere Flood Alleviation Scheme site where trees have been planted (JPG, 174.9 KB), fencing realigned and ground preparation carried out. Seeding of the wildflower meadows is planned for completion by the end of November.

This year in Sandyleaze, there was a stunning display (JPG, 4.4 MB) of cornfield annual flowers including poppies, corncockles and cornflowers. These acted as a ‘nurse crop’, protecting the slower more subtle, perennial wildflowers to establish. Over time, the perennial wildflowers should become increasingly diverse with species such as ox eye daisy, hawkbit and wild carrot, providing essential habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.

A small orchard with regional heritage apple varieties is planned for the area by the end of the year (planting plan (PDF, 484.7 KB)).

Lacy Close (planting plan (PDF, 429.9 KB)) is currently being prepared for wildflower seeding,

n order to allow the wildflower seed to make contact with the earth and germinate it has been necessary to cultivate the soil and create bare ground. The bare soil may persist for a number of months, but will gradually ‘green-up’ as the seeds begin to germinate.

Next year at Lacy Close there should be an attractive display of cornfield annual flowers including poppies, corncockles and cornflowers. These will act as a ‘nurse crop’, protecting the slower to establish, more subtle, perennial wildflowers. Over time, the perennial wildflowers should become increasingly diverse with species such as ox eye daisy, hawkbit and wild carrot, providing essential habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.

Works on the seeding are planned to be completed by November.

Native daffodil bulbs will be planted this autumn, and tree planting will be carried out over the winter.

October 2020:

Wildflower seeding has been completed at Little NormansSandyleaze and parts of the Horsbere flood storage area.

Plans are currently being developed for the wider area of the mound at the Horsbere flood storage area to be a woodland pasture.

September 2020:

As part of this scheme we have selected several locations to introduce wildflower meadows that will provide habitat links for wildlife and create attractive displays.  In order to establish these meadows, the existing grass must be treated and prepared to accept the special seed mix.  In developing these proposals we have considered how the public currently use the space and will maintain walking desire lines.

To meet the planting season this autumn you may notice our Contractors carrying out this ground preparation.  The purpose is to create open structure in the existing grass sward that will allow the wildlife seed to make contact with the soil and germinate. The process will help reduce competition from common grasses and weeds during the establishment of the meadow.

The preparation is to be done by scarifying or in some instances by herbicidal treatment and rotavating which will cause the area to look very bare until the seed is established. During this time and given the seasonal weather the bare earth may become unsightly and muddy under the normal wetting and drying.  This is normal and will be made good during the works.

The maintenance of these wildflower meadows will consist of at least two cuts per year to promote good growth year on year and prevent dominant weeds and grasses from overtaking the establishment of the meadow.  These cuts will include a hay-cut at the end of summer typically at the end of August and an autumn cut by the end of November and in some instances a spring cut may be carried out.

We will be looking to promote the Wotton and Horsbere Brook Wildlife Gardening Project which will see leaflets delivered to local residents promoting ways in which you could contribute to habitat creation and overall biodiversity enhancements.

December 2019:

Design work for this location is currently underway.  When ready, details will be posted on here.