This project started with funding from the Catchment Partnership Action Fund and attracted funding from the Environment Agency Angling Improvement Fund, as well as lots of volunteer hours and input from the Campaign for the Farmed Environment.
We started but doing surveys of the Lower and Middle Ellen and Threapland Gill to increase our understanding of any issues in these areas and highlight opportunities for habitat work. However we then had storm Desmond and a lot of flooding which changed the river, eroding some areas and depositing gravels in others as well as flooding some properties.
One badly eroded section of river bank looked like this; So we fenced it off, put in willow spiling to stabalise the bank and planted a hedge to protect the fence;
And the big project we did was on a tributary where trout lay their eggs. When we started the banks were eroding, the trees were shading out all the light and livestock access was damaging the banks and introducing lots of silt to the river. It looked like this;
So we created wildlife buffers where the stock can’t gain access, coppiced the existing trees to allow some light in and reduce flood risk and made fords with drinking access for livestock. The fencing we used should be able to withstand floods a bit better than normal fencing and some hedgerow plants add to the wildlife habitat and slow down flood waters. When we had finished it looked like the pictures below and we are waiting to see how this develops over the next few years, so look out for updates.