ecology habitats marine

SSSI Ditch and Heathland Restoration

Woking Borough Council

Keystone Habitats successfully tendered for the restoration of a ditchline and bordering wet heathland within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Surrey.

What did we do?

  • Surveyed the levels of the ditch and ponds at either end of the ditch to determine the existing fall.
  • Designed a strategy that stabilised the banks of the ditch, alleviated flooding on the adjacent highway, restored the bordering heathland and maintained the hydrological conditions necessary for wet heathland.
  • Installed Hazel and Sweet Chestnut revetments along the length of ditch to be restored.
  • Sorted the substrate that had been cleared from the ditch into the correct soil layers and reformed the banks of the ditch, replacing heathland turves and reinstating a base layer suitable for heathland regeneration.

How did we do It?

  • We arranged a site meeting with the Council Ecologist, County Highways and the client to discuss our proposed strategy for restoration and the alleviation of highway flooding.
  • Negotiated use of an adjacent landowner’s yard as a compound and accessed the site via a bridleway to minimise impacts on existing designated heathland.
  • Marked out and agreed revetment contours with the Council Ecologist prior to works commencing.
  • Worked with our in-house Ecology team to undertake restoration work in a way that prevented the risk of killing/injury of reptiles.
  • Sorted substrate using plants as indicators of its origin.

What were the outcomes?

  • The site was left functional with all features in place for successful habitat recovery and flood alleviation.
  • The project was delivered to the brief and within the required time frame and price.
  • We added value to the contract at no additional cost by using trees that had been removed for the creation of reptile hibernacula and by turning retained tree root balls south for the benefit of invertebrates.
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