Catchment area 73.5km2, length 16km. Not designated artificial or heavily modified.


Water body description

Relatively small spring-fed gravel bed river flowing mainly in a southerly direction. Owing to the Cotswold inferior oolite limestone geology there is a large seasonal flow variation until it reaches Ampney Park. At Ampney St Peter it runs on gravel overlaying clay retaining a summer flow. It is joined by Poulton Brook (a largely dense shaded straight channel) downstream and meets the Thames in the parish of Latton. The channel is overlarge and incised by high winter flows along its course.

There are remains of weirs and side channels from the historic network of water meadows and areas of extensive channel straightening, particularly in the downstream stretches. A river habitat survey in September 2013(1) identified areas of extensive shading from tree planting within Ampney St Peter and scrubby hedgerows downstream. Outside these areas, there was good aquatic and marginal vegetation and meandering form. The brook is healthy in the upper reaches before sewage works and diffuse pollution from arable land impact on it.

Under cycle 1 2009-2012 the Brook was classified Bad for fish element due to barriers to fish movement, seasonal water levels, and crayfish predation. From 2014-2016, under cycle 2, it has reached a moderate status for both phosphates and fish.


Land Use and Designations

Surrounding land is used for arable and semi-improved pasture for grazing, managed by a few large and several small landowners and there is active gravel mining downstream towards the confluence with the Thames. There is abstraction at Latton and Meysey Hampton under an abstraction permit. There are a few footpaths crossing the upstream sections of channel, with greater access downstream from Latton to the Thames. There are light local fly fishing and access rights for Cotswold fly fishers.


Flora from catchment walkover (September 2013) 1

Amphibious bistort, Branched Bur-reed, Canadian pondweed, Duckweed, Fool’s Water Cress, Iris, Lesser water-parsnip, Meadowsweet, Reed Canary Grass, Reed Sweet Grass, Water Crowfoot, Water forget-me-not, Watermint, Watercress, Woody nightshade.

Fauna from catchment walkover (September 2013) 1

Signal crayfish present, good river fly life. Fish include minnows, bullhead, and brown trout, along with dace and chub further downstream.

Signs of otter and water vole have been recorded through stretches of Ampney Brook. Riparian birds included typical pasture, hedgerow and woodland species, also kingfisher, grey wagtail and grey heron.


Conclusions of the WILD parish reports (1)

Ampney Brook is of high ecological value, with a significant downstream value being particularly suitable for brown trout. However, it is still extensively modified and would benefit from enhancement. There are also signs of nutrient enrichment downstream of the sewage works at Ampney St Peter. Poulton Brook is of significant ecological value for its linear scrub and tall ruderal vegetation and is an important habitat for breeding birds and invertebrates. It is unlikely to provide habitat for aquatic species due to the regular drying of the channel.

Catchment Issues

Ampney St Peter village has flood risk (to buildings within 90m of the river). There is no flood risk to the slightly elevated Poulton, Down Ampney or Latton villages or Driffield village.

Signal crayfish

Nutrient enhancement downstream of sewage works and diffuse pollution from farmland

  1. Water with Integrated Local Delivery (WILD) Project, Rivers Management Plans, Poulton Parish, St Peter Parish, Driffield Parish, Down Ampney Parish and Latton Parish (May 2016)


Water Framework Directive

Water Framework Directive 2016 Cycle 2 failing due to fish and phosphates (moderate status)


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