Ford Green Brook

Habitat(s) to be improved Watercourse, Wetland, Woodland

Lead Organisation Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

Site Area Ford Green

About The Site

The Ford Green Brook in the north of Stoke has been subject to extensive deepening, straightening, culverting and widening in areas where the brook passes under roads. These modifications have impacted the way in which the brook flows, extensive silt deposition is evident in widened areas under roads due to shallow gradients and slow flow levels. The straightened sections which have a wide channel and low gradient are choked with vegetation which is in turn also affecting flow and makes fish passage difficult.

Water quality is also an issue, an advisory visit by the Wild Trout Trust in 2016 discovered high levels of algae and high numbers of Hoglouse (Asellus aquaticus) suggesting that the nutrient levels are elevated, possibly from a large source of upstream organic pollution or multiple point sources throughout the reach. This will limit the potential for species to inhabit the brook as it will lower the available dissolved oxygen which a lot of species rely on.

Adjacent habitats include amenity grassland, small areas of woodland on the steeply sloping bank sections of the watercourse which appear to be undermanaged and densely shaded. A complex of balancing pools with associated riparian habitat are also present which were possibly created as a Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) when the surrounding housing estate was constructed, these are also becoming heavily vegetated, similar to the brook channel itself and some pools have no visible open water left. This is likely impacting on the overall amount of water these pools can hold as well as potentially limiting the habitat availability for certain species requiring open water.

The large steep banks of the watercourse and balancing pools to the north of the site contain lots of bare ground on what appears to be spoil and old scalpings from the industrial past. These areas also contain lots of natural scrub regrowth of species such as Silver Birch (Betula pendula), Gorse (Ulex sp.) and Broom (Cytisus sp.) as well as containing an unusual assemblage of ground flora species which is likely to be the result of an innoculation of a seed mix when the area was landscaped.

Ford Green Nature Reserve is also located to the north of the site.

Original Work Plan

  • Bank re-profiling and rotational tree felling/thinning alongside the watercourses to improve the light/shade regime south of the A53.
  • Introduction of woody material to the brook channel to encourage the brook to meander naturally. Material could be sourced from any on-site woodland management activities.
  • The use of Natural Flood Management techniques to slow the flow and improve habitat to the brook through Chatterley Whitfield.
  • Enhance to Ford Green Reedbed by controlling water levels and planting additional reeds.
  • Creation of additional wetland on amenity grassland adjacent to¬† Reedbed.

Work Carried out to date:

  • Tree felling work has already taken place along two sections of the brook to open the woodland so to increase light/shade penetration. This work was carried out over Winter 2018/19.
  • Feasibility studies are to be carried out to examine the specific conditions so to improve the water course which will also provide an great opportunity to enhance the Ford Green Reedbed.

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