We have finally reached the moment in time where we have started our highly anticipated wall lowering project on Havergate Island.

For those of you that do not know what we are planning to do, here is a very quick summery.

We are now starting to witness the impact of more regular storms on the island combined with higher tides. We are finding that the banks around the island are eroding more noticeably, paths are being washed away and the external walls are showing signs of erosion. These are all creating weak points in the islands defences and the walls need to be continuously monitored and maintained. The aim of this project is to take some of the pressure off the outer defences in extreme conditions.

After the tidal surge in 2013, a big section of wall breached on Doveys lagoon. It was decided, instead of building the wall back in as it was, to instead put a lowered, reinforced spillway in.Over the past few years this concept has worked really well on Dovey’s lagoon, and so we decided to roll it out across the rest of the island.

Havergate is always going to flood, and so the decision to build another, bigger spillway was taken to lesson the impact of further, future major storm surges. The idea of these spillways is to control the overtopping by allowing the reinforced section to overtop first. This then fills the lagoons and helps prevent any major scouring or breaching occurring at higher, thinner parts of the seawall. 

We are able to undertake this project thanks to funding received from Viridor and the Environment Agency. Our vision for Havergate is secure it into the future and maintain its nationally important habitats and species.

It is no mean feat creating a 700m spillway across the back wall of our Main lagoons (North end). It involves having 2 diggers out there to do the work and 300 rolls of rockfall netting which is used to cover and reinforce the lowered section of wall.

So, after months of planning we officially started the project last week by taking delivery of 300 rolls of rockfall netting

Unloading it

The finished pile

 2 excavators were then transported out there one at a time

And unloaded onto the beach

We also needed to get a tractor and trailer out and then it was the huge task of getting the Rockfall netting out there and unloading it at the other end.

After 7 trips with the ferry, everything is now on the island and we are ready to crack on with the works next week.

I will keep you posted every week with our progress.

Now, just a quick update on what we have been seeing out there recently. On our trip over the weekend we had 3 little stint, curlew sandpiper, sanderling, over 100 ringed plovers, dunlin, 2 knot, greenshank, grey plover, golden plover, bar tailed godwit, teal, 30 pintail, shoveler, wigeon and 1 Spoonbill (see our guide Steve’s blog post here https://bit.ly/2MWsabP , he has some fantastic photos!) Short eared owl and barn owls are also hunting over the river walls as well and marsh harriers and kestrels.