The project is receiving £500,768 from the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government, through the European Regional Development Fund, as well as section 106 funding from Ribble Valley Borough Council and charitable funding from Ribble Rivers Trust.
The project will achieve its aims by improving the habitats, providing public access, and connecting the river habitat, and as a result, the site will boast a diversity of wildlife for people to explore and enjoy. The project is hoped to be one of several to convert the whole of this site into much valued green and blue space for people and wildlife, unique in its placement with an urban surrounding.
Why is this work necessary?
In 1787 a 7-metre high dam was constructed to provide a consistent source of water that could be utilised to power a cotton mill, and laterally a print works, paper works, and lifting equipment manufacturer at Primrose Works. The Lodge is now redundant owing to significant re-development of Primrose Works negating the need for water supply. The construction of the Lodge prevented upstream migration of a number of aquatic species but also created an interruption to and artificial sediment regime downstream.
The Lodge was never decommissioned as part of the wider redevelopment, so the negative impact on the aquatic ecology continues, and is negatively impacting downstream as well as upstream. However, the unique nature of the site and lack of human intervention has resulted in the site being given a local conservation designation (Biological Heritage Site). The designation is based on the fact that the industrial activity and artificial nature of the site make a contribution to biodiversity in their own right, as well as supporting flowering ferns and plants that are classed as vulnerable in the “Provisional Lancashire Red Data Lost of Vascular Plants”. The key features already present will be retained and enhanced, whilst new features are also created.
What will the work entail?
The project principally consists of three stages:
- A fish passage project
- The de-silting of the redundant mill lodge and planting of marginal and emergent wetland plants, as well as clearance of litter and fly tipping
- Creation of a footpath, bridge, viewing area, and signage.
What will the outcome of the work achieve?
The fish pass will connect of 9 hectares of Mearley Brook and lead to salmon, sea trout, and eels being present not only in the heart of Clitheroe, but beyond to Worston and into the streams on the side of Pendle Hill. They will, in turn, support other wildlife such as kingfishers, herons and otters.
The de-silting will create a permanent open water habitat, which will be home to wildfowl and invertebrates that will support bats and other species, as well as a significant improvement of the aesthetic value of the site.
The footpath will connect Primrose Road, and the lower end of Woone Lane to Whalley Road, and enable children to walk to school through a woodland walk and nature park. The viewing area will allow people a much better view across the site, for people to enjoy.
Although we are the Lead partners in this project, Ribble Rivers Trust will be delivering the work.
Visit Ribble Rivers Trust's website to find out more