Mardyke Valley

Mardyke Valley Habitat Creation and Restoration

The River Mardyke is a tributary of the River Thames and runs for 18km from its source near Great Warley, Essex to meet the Thames at Purfleet. In its lower course the river flows through the project site at Davy Down, a six hectare riverside park which is owned by Thurrock Council and Essex and Suffolk Water, and partly managed by the Land Trust.

The Mardyke is an extremely slow flowing river because of its low gradient and the tidal sluice gate impounding the flow at Purfleet. The low lying areas surrounding the River Mardyke are also at high risk of flooding.

In areas such as Davy Down, where there is no risk to residential or commercial property, flooding should be embraced as an important natural process that, when appropriately managed, can bring significant environmental and economic benefits.

Map pictures the location of project site within the broader landscape 

Thames21 has been entrusted by the Land of the Fanns (LotF) Landscape Partnership Scheme, financed by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to work with partners to develop and implement a freshwater habitat creation and floodplain restoration scheme within the Mardyke Valley.

The LotF scheme spans an area of 70 square miles through the South Essex region, and is aimed at engaging local communities within this area with the natural, geological, archaeological and built heritage of their local area.

The Mardyke Valley Habitat Creation and Restoration project will take place on both sides of the river Mardyke where floodplains and wetlands have been drained for agricultural purposes and urbanisation in the past.

Creation of wetland scrapes and ponds

Restoration activities will largely comprise of earthworks. The proposed works will involve the creation of a number of wetland scrapes and ponds. An estimated 800m2 of floodplain will be excavated to create a mosaic of water bodies, varying in depth and surface area. These will have large drawdown zones to allow a variety of vegetation to establish.

 Watch our timelapse video of the start of the excavation work, below.


Habitat and flood storage

These newly created wetland scrapes will provide food sources and habitat, improve water quality, increase flood storage, and will improve the aesthetics, creating more opportunities for recreation.

What is the long-term vision?

Alongside the South Essex Catchment Partnership goals, the Mardyke Valley Habitat Creation and Restoration project aims to create space for water, as well as habitat (space) for wildlife to thrive. In addition to supporting animal and plant life of the region, wetlands play a unique role in supporting our health, both mental and physical. The benefits of this project are likely be valued for many generations to come.

Mardyke Valley Habitat Creation and Restoration is funded by:


in partnership with: