Survey of the River Uck

Site reference: Uck main river

An extensive suite of 38 walkovers over the main river Uck, to assess current conditions and identify future opportunities for improvements.

The river Uck is the main tributary of the river Ouse, with a catchment area of approximately 104km2. It comprises nine waterbodies, seven of which have been classified under the Water Framework Directive as failing good ecological status.  This is a summary of an extensive suite of 38 walkovers, throughout the main river Uck, to survey c.500m stretches using River Habitats Survey methodology. The objectives and findings of this work are the subject of the Trees on the River Uck (TrUck) project and complement the suite of surveys undertaken on the Uck tributaries.

The walkovers were carried out by a number of experts and volunteers, between December 2012 and May 2013. A stretch-by-stretch breakdown of the summaryinformation displayed here wil be uploaded in due course.


The dominant land use here is arable. No livestock were recorded.

Bankside trees were semi-continuous on the left bank and semi-continuous on the right bank. There were some fallen trees present and some large woody debris observed. Alders were present.

The channel was a little shaded and there were some overhanging boughs.

There were some exposed bankside roots and some underwater tree roots.

Flow was variable.

Channel characteristics

Left bank Right bank
Banktop height0.4-10m0.6-7m
Embanked height0.6m0.6m
Marginal/bank featureslargely none, some eroding clifflargely none, some eroding cliff
Land use (5m)improved grassland, some mixed woodlandimproved grassland
Banktop vegetation (1m)
Bankface vegetation

The channel itself was 2m-18m wide at the bankfall and 0.7m-7.5 wide at water level, with a depth of 0.05-0.8m and mostly gravel/pebble substrate.


Amphibious plants were observed in the channel. Notable invasive plants were present, specifically Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed. The channel is not significantly choked with vegetation.

Channel modifications

The channel is not obviously realigned and is not obviously over-deepened. Water is not impounded by obstructions.

Additional features

There are 258 riffles, 123 sidebars, 5 deflectors, 108 pools and 89 pointbars.

Other information

The data shown here is the average/ dominant finding, unless a range is stated.

Upstream grid reference: TQ5540027655

Downstream grid reference: TQ4425517797

Date of walkover: May 2013

Name of surveyor(s): Experts and trained volunteers

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting. From an original concept by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.