The Berrick Stream and Lady Brook system together run for approximately 5 Km (3 miles). The Lady Brook rises just to the north of Berrick Salome, a South Oxfordshire village approximately 5 km (3 miles) to the north of Wallingford.
The Lady Brook arises from springs at the junction of the Upper Greensand and Gault clay. The most significant of these springs rises near Grove Barn, and is the source of the Brook. It then flows south west past Ladybrook Copse to where it joins with the Berrick Stream.
The Berrick Stream rises to the west of the village of Brightwell Baldwin, flowing again south west through the village of Roke. The Berrick Stream is joined by the Lady Brook to the north of Littleworth from where it then flows into the River Thames just to the west of Benson. Together they are classified by the Environment Agency as a river and designated Hydromorphologically as not being an artificial or highly modified water body. It is in fact a chalk stream substantially natural in character with a high contribution from groundwater. The total catchment area is 15.6 km2 (6.02 miles2).
The Environment Agency has designated some of the catchment as being within a Surface Water Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ). They have one monitoring point along the length of the system the results of which show that the greatest pollution load from nitrogen compounds is of agricultural origin.
Environment Agency Classification for the Berrick Stream and Lady Brook system
|2009 Cycle 1||2016 Cycle 2||Objectives|
|Water body status overall||Moderate||Poor||Good by 2027|
|Ecological Status||Moderate||Poor||Good by 2027|
|Chemical Status||Does not require assessment||Good||Good by 2015*|
*As reported in Environment Agency's WFD Classification Status Cycle 2 v3 data set published 18th May 2017.
As can be seen from the table above, in 2016 the Environment Agency classified the Ecological Status of the system as Poor overall, primarily due to a Poor Biological Quality Component mostly related to fish, macrophytes and phytobenthos elements suspected to have been caused by land drainage work on the water courses. Of the Physicochemical quality component, Phosphate was the one component classified as Good that stopped this achieving High Status. However, the overall water body status for the Berrick Stream and Lady Brook system is predicted to be Good by 2027.
You can find out more about the classification of rivers in our catchment by using the Environment Agency’s Catchment Data Explorer