The Greensand Trust is working with the Environment Agency, Central Bedfordshire Council, Leighton-Linsalde Town Council and others to enhance the Riverside Walk along Leighton-Linslade's River Ouzel, making the most of a hidden gem. The Ouzel Enhancement Project will result in a river that is better for wildlife, is more attractive to people and has a reduced risk of flooding.

The River Ouzel, previously considered to be an unattractive and overgrown watercourse, is being transformed into an asset to be treasured, providing a beautiful green wildlife corridor winding its way from countryside through the heart of the town.

Decades of straightening, hard engineering, pollution and siltation have all taken their toll on what would have once been a delightful lowland stream.

Greensand Trust volunteers, working alongside and under the expert guidance of staff from the Environment Agency, have installed a series of “flow deflectors”, constructed from woody materials, along the river at the Riverside Walk greenspace, owned by Central Bedfordshire Council.  These deflectors force what is currently a slow and sluggish river around them, speeding up the flow and cleaning gravels vital for spawning fish and invertebrates.

The project also aims to make this often neglected stretch of river more attractive for local people, encouraging them to use it for exercise and relaxation.  By felling trees, already growing within the river channel, and using a small percentage of this material for restoration, the works will reduce the risk of flooding, while letting in more light to make what was a rather gloomy stretch much more attractive.

The project has been funded by a grant from Central Bedfordshire Council’s Planning Obligations Fund and the Defra Catchment Partnership Action Fund.  Since the project started in 2014 there has been an increase in interest in the river and its wildlife.