A major restoration project has transformed Colnbrook’s Horton Brook from a river full of fly-tipped rubbish to a flowing river already teeming with wildlife.
The brook, which borders Crown Meadow in the south of Colne Valley Regional Park, dried up for the first time in 2019. When the water returned last October, sections of the brook were stagnated by the huge amount of rubbish which had been dumped – including mattresses, sofas and a leaking motorcycle – as well as heavy vegetation on the banks.
Thanks to a £9,300 grant from Grundon Waste Management through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) and support from the Environment Agency, local environmental charity Groundwork South was able to spearhead a volunteer-led restoration project.
They began by removing the rubbish as well as brambles, ivy and trees along the banks to expose the brook to sunlight and promote the growth of aquatic vegetation. They built new structures to provide new habitat for invertebrates and breeding fish and, thanks to their hard work, within just two months saw freshwater species including cased caddisflies, roach and waterfowl return to the now freely-flowing waterway.
Hannah Needham, Groundwork South’s Rivers Project Officer, said: “The project has been a big success, thanks to our funders and volunteers. Horton Brook is now visible to Crown Meadow residents for the first time in many years and it shows that with a little helping hand, nature can fight back and rivers will heal themselves if we give them a chance.”
Anthony Foxlee-Brown, Grundon’s Head of Marketing and Communications, said: “Horton Brook is so close to our base in Colnbrook and many of our employees live in the area, so it was really good to be able to do something special to benefit the local community.”
A core team of volunteers was joined by local community group Goodgym Slough and Eco Ambassadors from Churchmead School, together with volunteers from Upton Disability Care and local community group Wild About Datchet.
Landowner, Slough Borough Council, and the Colnbrook Community Partnership were also involved in the project.Back to news