Changing the course, slowing the flow

Part of project: Habitat improvement

As part of the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme’s project,  Eden Rivers Trust is delivering a suite of river restoration and Natural Flood Management (NFM) projects.

The focus is on restoring reaches of both Scandal Beck and the River Lyvennet, for the benefit of people and wildlife.  We will work with, and through natural processes to improve habitats and slow the flow of water in the Upper Eden catchment alleviating flood risk downstream in more populated areas.

Working with the natural river processes is a more economically sustainable option for those managing the riparian land, allowing the river to move naturally and form meanders, encouraging the formation of new habitat and planting trees.

As a result, a variety of species, both plant and animal, that have been declining here due to habitat loss and deteriorating water quality will benefit. Communities will also see a difference as we aim to slow the return of water to the river and slow the speed at which that water makes its way through the river system towards built-up areas.

Working with Kirkby Stephen Primary School

We have been working with Kirkby Stephen Primary School over the winter months to explore healthy rivers and TREEmendous Trees. Pupils learnt about how healthy, natural rivers work and the role that trees play in the water cycle (and why they are great for rivers and wildlife!)

Learning wasn’t just limited to the classroom through – pupils from years 5&6 came out to Smardale Gill to plant hundreds of trees by the banks of Scandal Beck. As the children grow up, so will the trees, providing valuable habitat, shelter and acting as a receptor of rainwater and run-off!

Back in the classroom, year 6 pupils created stop-frame animations about healthy rivers for a special assembly.

James Cullen, Year 6 teacher said:

“Our assembly went really well. We had a good turnout of parents and governors, including some who were tree planting with us at Scandal Beck. The children had prepared talks about why tree planting and healthy rivers are so important and relevant locally and loved showing off their knowledge and vocabulary on the subject.

The films were very popular and we have had a lot of compliments. Some of the class will be going to the animation workshops at Rheged now they have caught the stop-motion bug.”

Here are a couple of the films made by the pupils using stop motion animation:

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