Historic weir bypass opens to help fish reach habitat for first time in over 170 years

Jayne Mann


Ribble Rivers Trust have celebrated the completion of their river improvement project on the River Hyndburn which will allow migrating salmon, trout and eels to bypass a historic weir allowing them to reach habitat inaccessible since the middle of the 1800s. Oakenshaw-fish-bypass-channel Located on the River Hyndburn, between Clayton-Le-Moors and Great Harwood, the channel has been constructed to bypass the weir as part of the Trust’s Ribble Life Together programme, transforming 1.3km of river. Now complete, the team will monitor the effectiveness of the channel using radio tracking on trout, e-fishing the channel itself and looking at invertebrates colonising the new channel. Jack Spees, Chief Executive, Ribble Rivers Trust, said:
“Today is very exciting as this is by far the biggest of our six completed fish passes this year. It’s such an accessible site and with the woodland creation taking place after Christmas, which will be done with school children and local volunteers, as well as a river walk route planned for the future, we’re pleased to be able to continue our work enhancing and promoting the wonderful natural heritage in this area.”
As part of improving the natural heritage, volunteers will plant 1,650 native trees in the adjacent woodland early in the new year. They will include a mix of sessile oak, alder, hazel, downy birch, rowan, goat willow, hawthorn, holly, hornbeam and wych elm. The woodland was designed with advice from the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and the local farmer to fit in with an existing Biological Heritage Site, designated for semi-natural ancient woodland and existing habitats. 3D-Oakenshaw-by-the-weir-web The £128,000 project has been funded by national lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Environment Agency, Natural Course – an EU LIFE funded project, and the Windfall Fund – a partnership between EnegieKontor and The PROSPECTS Foundation. Alistair Maltby, Operations Director, The Rivers Trust:
“It’s great that this bypass is now in place and it will be really exciting to follow the progress of the fish migrating upstream. This project has been part-funded by Natural Course, a ten-year project that we are working on with partners from private, public and community sectors to improve the North West water environment. It will be really useful to share the learning from this project with partners across the region.”
Further information can be found at www.ribblelifetogether.org/hyndburnbrook-oakenshaw or you can contact the Ribble Rivers Trust on 01200 444452.
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