River restoration at Jervaulx Abbey


Jervaulx Project Partners Group commissioned us in November 2016, to undertake a feasibility study into potential river and floodplain restoration measures on the River Ure, near the Jervaulx Abbey Estate. The Jervaulx Project Partners Group comprises of the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, Natural England, the Environment Agency and North Yorkshire County Council, all of whom are working with the owner of the Jervaulx Abbey Estate.

The River Ure in North Yorkshire flows along the northern boundary of the Jervaulx Abbey Estate. An active meandering river, it has long been the cause of significant erosion of the river banks, threatening the flood embankments which line both banks within the vicinity of the Jervaulx Estate. Flood embankments have been in place on this part of the Ure system for at least 150 years and have contributed to the river channel’s disconnection from its floodplain.


In order to take a potential river restoration option forward towards concept design, several restoration options were initially considered before a short list of options was investigated further using hydraulic modelling of the river and floodplain. Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) was then undertaken to facilitate the identification of a preferred option against a number of assessment criteria.

The preferred solution from the MCA combined a number of the options investigated for this study. Partial flood embankment removal, to re-connect the channel to its floodplain and reduce erosive energies in-channel, was combined with utilising floodplain storage, with improved riparian planting and the creation of some floodplain features to provide and enhance valuable habitats.

Although it did not rank as the highest in the MCA, this combined option was considered more likely to improve the river channel to floodplain connectivity when full embankment removal is not feasible. If taken forward, following due consideration through the planning and regulatory process, the proposed scheme would create an extremely useful demonstration facility for these types of river and floodplain restoration techniques in Yorkshire and beyond.


A concept design with the proposed restoration scheme was presented to the client group in the project report. The Jervaulx Partnership Group is applying for funding through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in early 2019. The range of hydromorphological and ecological benefits that the preferred solution aims to bring, will certainly enhance the funding application.

Want to know more?

Email Rebecca Thrower for more information. You can also find out more on our catchment and river restoration web pages.

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