Middle Kennet

The Middle Kennet flows from Marlborough to Newbury encompassing a mix of urban and rural landscapes.

Its Water Framework Directive ecological status is moderate, failing on fish and dissolved oxygen.

The upper reaches contain examples of excellent chalk stream habitat, but there are opportunities to make improvements for wildlife, through habitat restoration projects and tackling the effects of old mill structures, which impound the river, causing siltation of the river beds and prevent the free movement of fish. There are several recently completed and planned habitat restoration projects in this waterbody, including work at Stonebridge Wild River Reserve, Ramsbury, Eastridge, Kintbury.

Works to enable fish passage at Ramsbury, Stitchcombe and Elcot Mills are planned from 2017 onwards, identified by the Kennet Catchment Partnership and supported by the Environment Agency.

The Middle Kennet downstream from Hungerford is affected by poor quality water coming from the Kennet and Avon canal, rural diffuse pollution and other pressures, including invasive species.

Catchment sensitive farming is active in the area, working with farmers to reduce rural diffuse pollution; progress has been made to reduce abstraction and water exports to Swindon were limited in 2017.

The joint ARK/Thames Water ‘Water Matters’ campaign works to help communities to use less water to keep the river healthy.

Ramsbury School is one of the first schools to include a Rain Garden to slow the flow of water and reduce water pollution.