Notts Wildlife Trust (NWT) is also carrying out enhancement work on Fairham Brook, the nature reserve on the south-eastern edge of Clifton.
The site comprises areas of neutral grassland, remnant reedbeds and small ponds amongst areas of scrub woodland. Originally the land was frequently waterlogged, leading to a significant area of open fenland vegetation.
But, as a result of the deepening of the brook itself, the water table has dropped drastically and the fen habitat is declining steadily.
NWT intend to halt this decline by creating additional ponds on the site to retain water, reduce tree cover to slow water loss and create a figure-of-eight ditch.
This will take in water from the brook at times of high water levels and transfer it through the fen area, connecting some of the deeper ponds and then slowly releasing the water back into the brook.
Overall, besides rewetting parts of the site, it also increases the flood water storage of the site. Some of the work has already taken place and this includes scrub clearance and topographical surveys. To avoid damaging the peat layer, the ditches and ponds will be created in autumn 2015.
Whilst these represent small pieces of mitigation for one of Britain’s last heavy-handed drainage schemes it is hoped that it is the start of a richer wildlife future for Fairham Brook.
The Fairham Brook is a significant wildlife feature and was once classed as the closest thing we had to a chalk stream. Unfortunately, the brook’s channel was deepened and straightened by the Fairham Brook Internal Drainage Board in the early 1980s.
This was to improve the drainage of surrounding agricultural land and to take flood water away from Bunny village, but it also drastically reduced the brooks ecological value throughout the straightened section.