Dovenby village is at risk of flooding. Four houses flooded during storm Desmond as well as the local pub. There is only on road through the village which floods in two places isolating half the village during storm events.
There are a number of factors that contribute to flooding in Dovenby village. A large areas of land drains into the beck into a small constricted channel through the village. The soil is clayey and compacted and the fields are well drained so water reaches the stream quickly. The stream has been straightened and this water rapidly reaches the village. Within the village there is old infrastructure such as bridges, drains and culverts that have insufficient capacity to cope with the amount of water.
Ecologically, the beck is in a poor condition with high sediment and nutrient loads and very little habitat diversity.
We are working with Dovenby Flood Action Group and local landowners to find other ways to reduce flood risk to the village whilst improving the habitat and water quality of the beck.
With funding from the Woodland Trust, we undertook walkover surveys and identified a wide range of measures that would be beneficial. We were very grateful to receive funding from Cumbria Community Foundation and the Derwent River Corridors group to implement some of these measures.
A summary of the walkover survey findings can be viewed here: Dovenby beck walkover summary
In summer 2018 we installed leaky dams in two locations to ‘slow the flow’ and spread out the flood peak so that the village can cope with the amount of water. These timber structures allow normal flows to pass underneath but will cause flood flows to back up, temporarily storing water during a storm event. We also worked with a local landowner to fence off sections of the beck and create buffer strips with long vegetation and trees that will slow and store surface runoff and trap nutrients and sediment before they reach the beck. Some small scrapes will be dug into these areas to increase the amount of water they can store.
We are continuing to identify and develop further work in the area and are excited to monitor how our natural flood management measures perform.