Ecus works with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to create a nature-friendly ford

Ecus’s Habitats Team designed and constructed a nature-friendly ford at Woodside Farm, Derbyshire. 

Iain Weston
Written by:

Iain Weston

February 14, 2023
Habitats Manager

at Ecus

We were commissioned by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to tackle the significant problems caused by cattle poaching of a stream on the farm’s land.  Poaching occurs when intensive cattle trampling rips up soil and vegetation, causing erosion, liquefaction of soil, and nutrient pollution from faeces and agricultural chemicals.

The project involved the removal of an existing culvert, profiling the ground and laying 100 concrete railway sleepers on a geo-textile and MOT Type 1 bed to create the ford. We had to ensure the ford would be shallow enough for people and cattle to cross by wading, but prevent further damage caused by poaching. In order to reduce the impact of mobilised silt caused by our construction work, we placed a silt curtain downstream to ensure water quality wasn’t impacted.

Ford Building

The client originally wanted a bridge but our consultants worked very closely with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to devise a suitable alternative solution that was within budget but also reduced cattle poaching of the stream.

The finished project improved the stream corridor for wildlife, was considerably cheaper than a bridge, reduced flood risk and pollution, and requires minimal maintenance.