Urban SuDS Case Study: Swale on Tipside by Todmorden Riverside Improvement Group (TRIG)

The Swale in 2018

What? Constructed a small swale to take surplus water away from the path and make a damp area of grass wetter and more biodiverse.

Where? Tipside Todmorden.

When? December 2016.

Design:The swale has been designed to provide a new wetland plant community in an already wet grassy area, and to provide a small storage area for surplus rainwater. The swale is a shallow hollow no deeper than a foot, with gently sloping sides which covers an area about 60 m2. Drainage is poor in this area leading to frequent flooding of the nearby path, so it is intended that surplus rainwater will fill the swale rather than flood the path. 

Following heavy rain the swale will fill with water, this will then gradually drain away or evaporate, leaving the swale empty for the next downpour. The swale has been planted with a number of different wetland species to make the area more attractive both to people and other wildlife. A range of species will give a long flowering period from early species like Marsh Marigold in April, through to late summer species like meadowsweet and purple loosestrife.

Excavating the swale

Benefits/Constraints: We have been really pleased with the establishment of the plants in the swale, though we have to keep the area well managed to keep unwanted species like Himalayan balsam, nettles, docks and bindweed at bay. We haven’t fully resolved the flooding of the footpath yet and have more work to do with additional drains but we hope once this is completed the path will be much drier and less muddy.
Further opportunities: We are looking at another wet area on another part of the site where a marshland community might be established.

Who? TRIG designed, managed and fundraised the scheme, supervised the groundworks and did the planting

Funding: Plant material – native wild flower plug plants: £413 Compost etc to supplement very poor substrate £85 Ground works to excavate swale £ 910. Funds were provided thanks to the people’s postcode lottery.

Planting the swale December 2016
Swale December 2017

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