Rivers, streams and ditches

River and stream clearance and restoration

Rivers, streams and ditches offer their own unique challenges and management problems compared to still waters and this makes working in these environments especially challenging. In most lakes and ponds it is relatively easy to drain down to allow for work to be completed but in rivers, streams and ditches this is rarely an option meaning that most work has to undertake wet. This makes any work challenging and potentially dangerous as our staff are often working in fast running water.


Streams, rivers and ditches often suffer heavily from silt accumulation but unlike lakes and ponds do not have sufficient capacity to store excess silt. In a very short space of time these silts can build up, blocking drainage outlets and raising the bed of the watercourse making flooding more likely. A little known fact that all property owners should be aware of is that under existing legislation the landowner is responsible for maintaining the integrity of a watercourse on their property to ensure that blockages are removed and that there is free passage for water.

We are increasingly involved with de-silting watercourses that over time have become badly silted up and are not functioning sufficiently to drain water from the site; this has often caused flooding and increased bankside erosion. If you have a water course that needs de-silting please contact us to arrange a site visit, this is always necessary and in many cases the Environment Agency will also need to be informed and visit the site.

Bankside erosion

Many rivers, streams and watercourses suffer from erosion as the water, over time, cuts a new course. It is after all a river’s job to find the path of least resistance. In some cases however, the erosion can start to encroach on property or roadways or simply be a danger to the public. When this occurs there a number of methods that can be used to rebuild and strengthen the weak banks and in some cases, where justified, the route of a water course can be adjusted. We have now completed bankside stabilisation on a range of watercourses each with its own differing characteristics using a range of materials as diverse as Nicospan, timber, coir rolls and stone.

If you are concerned about an erosion problem on a river or stream please contact us. For this type of work the Environment Agency must give authorisation to the method and materials being used and in some case may require detailed drawings to be produced, because of this we will usually recommend that the first meeting we have with you includes a representative from the Environment Agency to ascertain the parameters we have to work within so we can offer you the best solution to the problem.

River, stream and ditch clearance

Often watercourses get clogged up and this can cause substantial flooding if the blockage stops the free passage of water. We are increasingly called to clear streams, ditches and culverts, especially prior to forecast flooding events, to ensure that water has free passage and can flow readily away. The material causing blockages will vary enormously depending on the locations but a typical combination will be items such as tree branches/logs, shopping trolleys, bikes, and traffic cones and then often, trapped in the larger debris, leaves and litter. We offer a call out service operating 24 hours a day for this type of work and are insured to carry out work for local authorities.

Other works

We can offer many other services in this area including, gravel cleaning, flow deflectors, gravel installation and habitat enhancement. If you require assistance with any of these aspects or indeed anything not listed here please do contact us for assistance. To demonstrate the scope of our work  we have listed below some recent projects we have completed.

River bank rebuilding for The Royal Botanical Gardens using Nicospan

River bank stabilisation for a private client in Northamptonshire

500m of stream clearance and de-silting for a school in Cheshire

Clearance of debris and litter from a flood ditch for a Northamptonshire local authority