The River Ash is a distributary of the River Colne which flows for 10km between Staines and Sunbury. It was once a natural river but has been directly impacted by urbanisation resulting in many of the river’s natural features being lost and the valuable habitat it once offered to wildlife becoming degraded.
The Colne Valley Regional Park has worked with Spelthorne Council, The Environment Agency and Spelthorne Natural History Society to successfully deliver a project to re-naturalise the River Ash adjacent to Bronzefield Prison in Ashford. The project was designed and constructed by Five Rivers, a specialist river restoration contractor, in October 2020
The project has enhanced the river’s habitat over 0.5km for a range of aquatic wildlife, with the site transformed to provide new habitats for fish, amphibians, invertebrates and waterfowl to thrive. The project was completed at the optimum time of the year to minimise disturbance to the breeding seasons of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife in accordance with Environment Agency guidelines. With the Meteorological Office ranking October 2020 as the 5th wettest October on record for the UK, thus unfortunately the high rainfall this October has resulted in some muddy areas on site. However this has been addressed by reseeding all affected areas with grass seed in order to help the site recover as quickly as possible.
In springtime we will be holding a volunteer planting day so everyone can help bring life and colour back to the location. Footpath improvement works are planned this year too to enable a new circular walking route with a boardwalk so no matter how wet the weather you can still enjoy a stroll.