The River Heacham is a chalk stream which flows through an undulating landscape from its source to its outfall at North Beach in Heacham. A majority of the catchment overlies high permeability bedrock, making the aquifer productive, and accounting for a high proportion of the flow originating from the aquifer. A Water Framework Directive report undertaken by the Environment Agency has designated hydrology as “good.” Nevertheless, many local people are concerned about abstraction in the upper part of the river which has allegedly suffered from increasingly long periods of seasonal drying.
We have now completed two projects on the Heacham, one at the Lavender Farm, and one further upstream on the Ken Hill Estate. At the Lavender Farm we have re-sculpted the river banks to create a more natural marginal area between water and land and replanted the banks with a mixture of native English water-side plants including marsh marigold, water mint, purple loosestrife and lesser pond sedge. This will in turn encourage native birds, insects and possibly mammals to use this stretch of river. At the Ken Hill Estate we have restored what was a straightened, overly wide channel and recreated slow, deep pools and shallow, fast riffles where fish and invertebrates are thriving.
We are also currently producing a catchment management plan for the Heacham, setting out guidelines for future ecological improvements to the river.
If you would like to find out more about the River Heacham and the wildlife on the river, or if you would like more information about the problems which the river faces and solutions to these problems, please download our Catchment Plan, or contact us to request a hard copy.