Case Study: Ailsworth Backchannel


Resilient River


National Lottery Heritage Fund, Environment agency, Nene Valley Catchment Partnership, Nenescape LP, Nene Park Trust & Peterborough & District Angling Association.


This project was part of the Resilient River project, part of the Nenescape Landscape Partnership.

Ailsworth Back Channel, also known as Castor Back Channel, was the subject of an earlier enhancement scheme that was completed in spring 2012. The scheme transformed the fishery, which is controlled by Peterborough and District Angling Association, into a nationally renowned barbel venue.

White Mills lock backchannel proposed a number of enhancement opportunities, including:

  • Diversification of river habitats for the benefit of fish and other wildlife.
  • Contribution to delivery of Water Frame Directive, improving the ecological status of the river.
  • Help the Environment Agency deliver the Eel Management Plan and meet its statutory obligations under the Eel Regulations. 

Our Solution

  • The Ailsworth Backchannel scheme comprised of 4 activities. The activities were:
  • Hinging and pinning overhanging trees and pleaching small riverside trees to increase in-stream woody habitat and create flow variation to improve the natural cleansing of the gravels.
  • Tree planting to increase shade over the river and suppress the growth of emergent vegetation. 
  • Clean gravel introduction to improve the gravel bed topography and the quality of fish spawning habitat.
  • Protect banks from future damage by erecting livestock fencing.
  • Gravel Introduction to modify bed topography and improve fish spawning habitat.
  • An open fencing pattern to ensure that flood water flows underneath the fence, minimising likelihood of the collection of debris washed down-river.


 Download our PDF for more details and information about the Ailsworth Backchannel Project



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