Tank Crossing A, Upavon, Wiltshire September 2017 Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

FiveRivers were contracted by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to deliver a multi-benefits River Restoration project including the reinstatement of a palaeochannel on the River Avon.

The project incorporated the lowering of the floodplain and the installation of a variety of wetland features. The overarching goal was to enhance the water quality of the River Avon and enhance habitats. Given a wide design brief, we tailored the works to achieve the best possible environmental improvements.

River restoration
Project requirements


  • Construction of a new river channel
  • Connection with existing channel
  • Creation of two new wetland features
  • Lowering of the floodplain for additional capacity
  • Importing gravels to the new river channel
  • Installation of large woody material in the channel
  • Reinstatement of turfs to promote colonisation and increase vegetation cover
  • Improvement of habitats for key species such as Water vole, Atlantic salmon, Brown Trout and Desmoulin’s whorl snail.
  • Design variations to improve water quality
  • Use of site won materials


River restoration
Our approach

Key remarks

  • Five Rivers were commissioned by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to carry out river restoration and habitat enhancement works on the River Avon.
  • The work was carried out on MOD land so permissions and daily communications were vital.
  • Multi skilled site team carried out a variety of works including water vole searches, excavations, tree works, pinning large woody material and installing imported gravels in a safe and efficient manner.
  • The restoration project sought to reinstate natural form and flow function by utilising site won materials such as gravels and timber.
  • Restoration works were undertaken in order to restore flow velocity, enhance channel dynamics, and thus in-channel plant communities, invertebrate numbers and fish habitat


River restoration project
Project outcomes


  • Paleochannel reinstated
  • Improved water quality
  • Increased wetland habitats
  • Floodplain reconnected to the river
  • Increased variety of in-channel habitats

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Martin Whitfield - Managing Director at FiveRivers (5R)

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