WORK is now complete on the new boardwalk along the River Avon in Salisbury and it is open again to the public.

Thousands of pieces of recycled plastic timber have been screwed and bolted together to create a path along the riverbank, offering views of the river, the reed bed and the floodplain meadows.

Walkers can also see a variety of different habitats and plenty of wildlife.

Much of the old timber boardwalk at the Avon Valley nature reserve was left either inaccessible or too dangerous for public access following severe storms and flooding over the winter.

Part of the boardwalk was swept away, with further stretches dislodged and a section severely damaged when several large willow trees crashed down on top of it.

The project to replace and extend the old structure was undertaken by Salisbury City Council in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, and delivered by specialist contractor Aquascience Ltd.

Council clerk Reg Williams said: “We are extremely pleased with the renovation works and now the boardwalk is open again local residents and visitors can enjoy this beautiful space once more.

“The council is very grateful to the support of other organisations who have assisted us with this project.

“We’d like to encourage people to use and enjoy the boardwalk and ask that they are respectful of the wildlife and habitats here to ensure that future generations can also appreciate this area.”

The work saw 1,500 posts drilled into the river bank to secure the new structure and prevent it from being damaged and washed away.

The project also required sensitive management and care on site to protect the breeding birds and water voles in the area.

More work is planned for the area in September and October.

The top end of the reed bed will be restored to a more natural and wetter state by removing the top layer of the soil and re-opening some of the old water meadow ditches.

Additional work will be done to improve the river habitat as well. As well as benefitting the wildlife in the area, the improvements should also provide a natural floodplain, which could help alleviate future flooding in Salisbury.