Penk Rise De-Culverting

Bringing a hidden river back to the surface

The River Penk first flows into daylight in Penk Rise open space in Wolverhampton. Through much of the site, however, the Penk was constrained in a culvert dating back to the mid-20th century.

Working in partnership with the Environment Agency the Nature Improvement Area created a new open channel which now takes the flow of the Penk through the centre of the species-rich grassland that dominates the open space.

The aim of the project was to break out the culvert and improve the open channel downstream of the culvert. Doing this connected the two open channels and now provided a better habitat than existed before. This benefits in-channel species such as invertebrate populations and marginal vegetation.

A Local Site assessment report by the Wildlife Trust stateed that there were small areas of marginal vegetation including Meadow Sweet, floating sweetgrass, reed canary-grass and common figwort. Increasing the marginal areas would it  increase habitat available for these species.

Invertebrate species that existed before work began included worms, snails, louse, midgefly lava. Again we would expect that the number of these species would increase when we create the habitat. 

Also, opening the culvert allows for better oxygenation of water which will improve water quality downstream.