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Magdalen College’s plans to rescue ‘severely eroded’ riverbank in Oxford


Sep 22, 2022

A "severely eroded" bank of the River Cherwell along part of a footpath in the grounds of a college in Oxford could be repaired.

Magdalen College wants to remediate riverbank erosion along a stretch of the River Cherwell which extends through its grounds.

The college is concerned that erosion along the riverbank is “threatening its integrity and that of the historic Water Walks”, including Addison’s Walk, that runs along the top of the embankment, and has submitted an application to carry out works to restore it, to Oxford City Council, the planning authority.

It would use 'interlocking trench sheets' filled behind with earth to bolster the banks.

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In 2005, a section of the bank collapsed causing Addison’s Walk to be closed until the bank was reinstated.

A design statement submitted as part of the application said: “The bank is in its natural form here, but severely eroded.

“Riverbank erosion along the River Cherwell is caused by the burrowing of the North American signal crayfish which are known to exist in large numbers within the river.

“Research studies have shown that signal crayfish burrow extensively and in a high burrow density can cause considerable damage to the riverbank ultimately result in its collapse.

“Given the importance of the heritage of the Magdalen College grounds and amenity provided by the Walks, the College is looking to find a sustainable longterm solution to prevent further damage caused by crayfish.

“However, it is also mindful of the need to maintain the connectivity of the habitats and aquatic vegetation.

“The appearance of the river bank will remain unchanged; arguably the changes proposed will improve the appearance given that the bank will be restored and vegetated.”

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi