Naddle Beck, like many others rivers and streams in the Lake District, was historically dredged to improve land drainage. The flat nature of this valley, combined with its very low natural supply of gravels has meant that this invaluable resource was removed from much of the river. Without spawning gravels, fish can’t lay their eggs! Two hundred and fifty tons of riverine gravels were re-introduced into ten sections (5-10m long) of channel to recreate/improve spawning habitat for salmon/trout in particular. The sections were chosen where it was anticipated that the gravels would not be washed out of the system during large flood events.
The second phase of the project involved the erection of 850m of stock-proof fencing, associated rails, gates and two heavy duty water gates (hecks). This aspect of the project was designed to reduce erosion and poaching by stock and provide a new deciduous woodland to develop dappled shade and provide a wildlife corridor.
The gravels were monitored during the autumn of 2013. Eleven salmon redds and five large trout redds were recorded. The gravels remained in situ through the entire winter despite some significant flood events. This is a fantastic success. It was all made possible because of the co-operation of the Landowner (Mr R Allan), the partnership with EA’s Field Team who provided men and machinery and the funding provide through the Rivers Corridor Group. The project was designed and managed by West Cumbria Rivers Trust.