It’s not often that the planets align in favour of re-wetting a floodplain but that’s exactly what happened earlier this month along a stretch of the River Yealm in Devon. On a clear, sunny winter morning, the purr of a mini digger could be heard in the woods, playing its part in river restoration. The digger was there to breach a flood bund that had be put in to keep flood water in the river and prevent it from spilling out onto the floodplain. The bund meant that the natural flow of the river could not connect to the floodplain and in periods of high flow meant that there was increased risk of flooding downstream.┬áThis particular stretch of river has been modified a great deal due to industrial activity in the area and therefore much of its natural sinuosity and ability to flood areas of land has been lost. It only took a morning to breach the bund which should allow this years flood waters to reclaim the adjacent woodland, helping to improve and restore the morphology of the river and offering some protection from flooding for properties downstream. The Environment Agency is planning more work in the area in the coming few months, not least due to the kind permission of the landowner who agreed to allow the works to go ahead.

A bank of earth was preventing the woodland from flooding.

A bank of earth was preventing the woodland from flooding.

The digger gets to work.

The digger gets to work.

The bund gets breached!

The bund gets breached!