Hampshire County Council

Itchen Navigation, Otterbourne

Summer 2023


This project was carried out on behalf of Hampshire County Council (HCC) and sought to improve a designated Right of Way in Otterbourne, along the banks of the Itchen Navigation. Increased numbers of walkers and dogs, as well as flooding, had led to several areas of erosion. The walking route had become unsafe in multiple places where the erosion had become more severe.

In one area requiring repair, the river had breached to the extent that a new backwater refuge had been created. This valued habitat is distinct from other channel features and needed to be maintained. Natural England were consulted to ensure the design allowed flow targets for the stretch of the Itchen to be upheld. To conserve it, a timber boardwalk was installed, made from green and airdried oak, as well as softwood anti-slip Gripdeck boards. The boardwalk was built with HCC design standard specification handrails to ensure user safety.

Where the path had eroded, soft revetments were used to reinstate the original bank line. Hazel faggots were installed, and pathing material was added to replace what had been lost. In areas requiring additional protection, or where shading from trees limited the natural colonisation of marginal plants, hard revetments were installed. These were constructed out of oak, lined with hessian, backfilled with stone, and topped with pathing gravel.

Where necessary, the existing footpath was resurfaced with pathing gravel, and low sections were replenished. When first placed down, the stone is orange in colour, however, over time it fades to blend in seamlessly with the existing footpath. Extra stone was deposited on either side of the boardwalk to ensure the deck is accessible for footpath users.

The completion of this project successfully allows the public to safely use the footpath and helps to prevent future erosion.

Project Images

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