Community effort from Countryside students

January 2010

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Even the cold weather could not deter Countryside students from their community effort around the county. Just before Christmas National Diploma Countryside students from Writtle College, undertook site clearance work at the Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester Essex.

Abberton Reservoir, owned by Essex & Suffolk Water, is the largest freshwater body in Essex, with 485 hectares covered by water. Essex & Suffolk Water recently made the decision to increase the capacity of water there by 50%.

Writtle students assisted with the reservoir enlargement project at Abberton for a day, working hard to clear blackthorn and hawthorn scrub away to make way for more water.

Countryside course lecturer, John Spencer said: “the students did a terrific job in helping out with this massive project being undertaken at Abberton. They worked hard at clearing scrub, which was later burned to make way for the enlarged reservoir. We all also made very good use of the warm fires during the snowy day in December.”


Pictured: The Countryside students hard at work (Credit James North)

About Abberton Reservoir

The Abberton reservoir is one of the most important in Britain for wildfowl. It is a Ramsar Site (Wetland of International Importance for birds), a Special Protection Area (SPA) designated under the EU Birds Directive, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to wildfowl. Therefore it is essential that the environment there is protected before, during and after construction.

The reservoir enlargement will involve:

• Raising the main dam by 3.2 metres.

• Storage volume increased by 58%.

• Building a number of smaller col (earth) dams around the edge of the reservoir.

• Relocating the Essex Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre to a larger site.

• Diverting the B1026 and modifying the causeway.

Essex & Suffolk Water is working closely with Natural England, Essex Wildlife Trust and RSPB to enhance the reservoir as part of the Scheme. The enhancement proposals incorporate areas of shallow water as habitat for feeding waterfowl, as well as other measures – including concrete removal - that are intended not just to maintain but to increase the reservoir's value for waterfowl.