1. Communities of aquatic macroinvertebrates and the terrestrial adult phases of aquatic insects were investigated from short stretches of English chalk streams with two different bankside vegetation types: simply structured grazed grass (grazed) and structurally complex herbaceous vegetation with scattered trees (ungrazed). Macroinvertebrates were sampled in spring, summer, autumn and winter 1996-97 from three aquatic habitats: mid-channel gravel, patches of the aquatic macrophyte Ranunculus and marginal emergent macrophytes. The terrestrial adult phases of aquatic insects were sampled in spring, summer and autumn from bankside vegetation.2. Total macroinvertebrate abundance did not differ between stretches with different bankside vegetation. Taxon richness of mid-channel gravel was, however, significantly higher in ungrazed compared with grazed stretches and Shannon diversity (H) of mid-channel gravel and marginal vegetation was significantly higher in ungrazed compared with grazed stretches. Total abundance, taxon richness and Shannon diversity (H) of the terrestrial adult phases of aquatic insect were significantly higher from the bankside vegetation of ungrazed compared with grazed stretches.3. Ordination of communities of aquatic macroinvertebrates and terrestrial adults demonstrated that individual families of both groups were generally more abundant in ungrazed stretches. Many more families were significantly associated with ungrazed stretches than with grazed stretches.4. This investigation has shown that high structural diversity of bankside vegetation along lowland chalk streams is accompanied at the reach scale by increased diversity of both aquatic macroinvertebrates and the terrestrial adult phases of aquatic insects. The conservation potential of such streams may thus be lowered by management practices that result in the removal or simplification of bankside vegetation along extensive stream stretches.