The last week of September was a busy one for us, with a full week of in-stream works for our SHRIMP (SHerston River IMProvement) Project. The aim of this project was to restore a section of river suffering from various problems caused by previous dredging and bank degradation by cattle. You can read more about this project here.
Thanks to the 40+ local people, Cotswolds AONB and Environment Agency teams who volunteered their time for this valuable project. Thanks also to Mike Blackmore from the Wild Trout Trust for his expert advice and post banging skills. In total we created 4 flow deflectors, 5 brushwood berms and coppiced the whole of the project site and much of the adjacent woodland. It certainly helped that we were blessed with beautiful sunshine for the whole week! These structures may not look like much now, but over the next few months silt will be deposited on them, plants will vegetate, the wood will break down and eventually the structures will form part of the natural riverbank.
Whilst out on the river we were lucky enough to spot trout, stickleback, bullheads, a heron, egrets, grey wagtails, a kingfisher, buzzards and a hobby! Great signs and hopefully populations that will continue to flourish as a result of our works.
We will be taking a break from in-stream works in the area for a while due to trout spawning season. However, we will be hosting an evening of talks in Sherston Village Hall on Thursday 12th November at 7.30pm where local otter enthusiast Tony House will be discussing wildlife in the area. BART will also be talking about the project and the audience will get the chance to discuss any improvements they would like to see with their river environments into the future.
In January we will be working with a local contractor to install a gravelled access ramp on a cattle crossing point through the river. As well as preventing further inputs of silt to the river, this will ease access for all of the river exploring enthusiasts who we have seen dipping their feet in the river!
We have further plans; subject to funding, for some more extensive river restoration works at the bottom end of the site that will involve raising the riverbed to re-instate natural flows with gravels that will allow for trout spawning to occur at this location. We have also been kindly donated enough seeds for a further 500m2 of wildflower meadow by none other than Prince Charles, to add to our existing 400m2 of meadow that has been planted this summer.
Exciting stuff! If you would like further information on this project or would like to get involved, give our Projects Officer Harriet an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would also be extremely grateful for any donation you or your organisation can give which will help us to continue these improvement works throughout and beyond the project site. You can find out more about how to donate here.
More project photos:
Thanks to everyone who has supported the project so far, including Wessex Water, Peoples Postcode Trust, Cotswolds AONB and individuals from the local community and company Stretchline.