Work progresses at Barnoldswick beck

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HAD you come across Stock Beck in Barnoldswick a few years ago, it would have been a completely different kettle of fish compared to how it is today, literally.

The beck’s ecological status was deemed “poor” under the Water Framework Directive but a brilliant clean-up operation has been undertaken by the Ribble Catchment Conservation Trust charity and Pendle Council.

The Ribble Trust started its habitat scheme at Stock Beck last year and an amazing amount of progress has been made.

Headlands were added along the stream making it more natural and hospitable and gravel was placed at various positions, creating areas for fish to spawn where they can dig hollows into the gravel and safely lay their eggs.

Catherine Birtwistle from the Ribble Trust said: “We’re trying to return it to a more natural state, with the aim that invertebrates, fish, birds and mammals will recolonise the area.”

Pendle Council has also supported the conservation project at Stock Beck and a fish pass is planned for introduction this year, where the stream meets the entrance of Victory Park.

All of the changes will hopefully introduce sea trout and other migratory fish to the waterway.

Notable sucesses for the Trust Ribble Catchment Conservation Trust also include the introduction of a fish pass in Barrowford that allows salmon, sea trout and brown trout to migrate up the stream from the River Calder.

Work on Stock Beck is far from finished and the Trust is also planning to add fencing and native trees later this year.

The fencing should keep away any roaming cattle which could damage the Beck’s delicate eco-system and trees will be planted there in November, with the aim of attracting a wider range of species to the area, from invertebrates to birds like dippers and kingfishers, and mammals such as otters. A water vole has already been spotted.

Ms Birtwistle said the Trust is always on the look out for local volunteers to help with projects.

For more information call the Trust on 01200 444409 or visit their website at www.ribbletrust.org.uk