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Riverbank erosion control

Riverbank erosion control at Brandon

Back in late 2012 the Breamish Valley saw heavy flooding. So heavy that parts of the bank of the River Breamish suffered mass failure. This was particularly evident at Brandon, just on the bend of the river opposite Brandon Farm.

This photo, taken on 29 June 2012, shows a relatively gently bend in the river to the right at Brandon Farm, as viewed from the Branton footbridge.

riverbank at Brandon Farm 29 Jun 2012

1. Riverbank at Brandon Farm (29 Jun 2012)

An old oak tree can be seen dead centre in the photo, just at the point where the river bends. It’s on the north (left) bank and used to house an owl box:

owl box in old oak tree

Owl box in old oak tree

Then, the floods came and, despite the erosion defences that can be seen in the photo (‘fences’ of heavy logs driven vertically into the river bed just before the bend) the left bank gave way and toppled into the river. And with it, down the now near-vertical bank, went the old oak tree, the owl box and some fencing.

Mass failure of river bank

Mass failure of riverbank resulting in vertical drop

The following is a photo of the same left bank as seen on 11 Sep 2015.

left bank at Brandon Farm Sep 2015

Left bank at Brandon Farm (11 Sep 2015)

It’s obvious (in comparison to photo 1 above) that the old oak tree is missing from this photo. In addition, the bend in the river is now a much sharper L-shape.

To combat further mass failures in the event of any further flooding, riverbank erosion control measures are being put in place. These can be seen in the photo above and a little more clearly in the following photos. The placing of vertical log ‘fences’ seeks to prevent so-called bank scour, in which bank material is removed by flowing water and carried away as sediment.

logs providing erosion control

Vertical and horizontal logs providing riverbank erosion control

erosion control defenses

Riverbank erosion control (River Breamish)

It will be interesting to see how this work progresses and, of course, if it works and prevents further collapse.

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