Action for the River Kennet: Rainscapes Phase 2

The Kennet like most rivers is under pressure from diffuse pollution. This not only comes from agriculture but from the urban environment too.

Building on the success of ARK’s first Rainscapes project, Phase 2 is continued to educate and involve the communities living along the Kennet catchment by building two new rain gardens within the grounds of local primary schools. These small scale interventions to ‘slow the flow’ and reduce storm water flooding, increase aquifer recharge and improve water quality as a result. Reducing the nutrients that reach the river means less algal growth. This means there is a healthier invertebrate population and cleaner gravel beds for fish including brown trout, brook lamprey grayling to successfully spawn.

This project through both the practical delivery of rain gardens and a series of workshops and school assemblies continued to raise awareness of chalk streams and SuDS; and how to effectively deliver them on different scales.

In December 2018 ARK delivered the first rain garden at St Nicholas Primary, Baydon. Collaborating with Gold Medal Award winning garden designer Wendy Allen and involving regular ARK volunteers, a team of Travel Port corporate volunteers and school parents a space within the grounds was transformed.  Hundreds of plants have gone in, a large water butt is connected to a downpipe, which leads to a water play trough. In times of heavy rain this overflows through an open pipe into the rain garden. Wildflower turf surrounded by hazel faggots (a nod to the river restoration that ARK carries out) has been laid at the entrance, a dead hedge habitat has been created and an existing hedge has been laid and new native saplings added.
In 2019 ARK worked with St Michael’s Primary in Aldbourne to create ARK’s biggest rain garden to date.

Click here to find out more about ARK’s Rainscapes.
Our Thames Restoration fund contributed £18.5k to this project. Click to see our Thames Rivers Trust brochure.


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