About Us

Ribble Catchment Map - towns and counties (crop)The Trust was formed back in 1997 in an attempt to restore the Ribble and the surrounding flora and wildlife to its former glory. Over the years, industrial and agricultural pollution as well as water abstraction and inadequate sewage treatment have caused severe habitat damage to the Ribble and its tributaries, to such an extent that the wildlife supported by the river has been put under threat. In recent years, water quality in our urban rivers such as the Calder and Darwen has improved, but the smaller streams of the Ribble and Hodder have deteriorated – the intensity of modern agriculture being the main source of the problem. Diffuse pollution is particularly damaging to small streams, as even small amounts of pesticides and herbicides can greatly harm wildlife. It is our mission to protect and enhance the water environments of the Ribble catchment for the benefit of current and future generations.

Our work extends over a catchment of 571 square miles, the majority of which is concentrated on the smaller tributaries and feeder streams as these are the “arteries” of a river and are much more vulnerable to pollution and physical damage. If these are healthy, the main rivers will be healthy. However this is no small task as there are a significant number of small tributaries, and very few people realise just how many there are. The map above shows what the Trust considers to be important tributaries, all of which support various invertebrates, fish, birds and mammal species.

The Trust Team:


Jack Spees- Trust Director

IMG_6844Jack started at the Ribble Rivers Trust in 2008 as the Fisheries Scientist before being made Trust Director in 2010. Jack now oversees the work undertaken by the Trust and the team as well as providing a wealth of information on all aspects of the river environment.

Catherine Jaggs- Office and Publicity Manager

IMG_5248Catherine joined the Trust in 2010 and now manages the office, assists with the Trust’s finances and compiles our grant claims. In addition, Catherine helps to publicise our projects and their impacts by creating our newsletters, designing publications, issuing press releases and managing our social media accounts.

Harvey Hamilton-Thorpe – Ribble Life Together Programme Manager

Harvey joined the team in 2015 to lead the Ribble Life Together project. Using his experience in project management, collaborative working, community engagement and environmental education, he loves it when a plan comes together. He is also passionate about helping people work together, learn something new and enjoy connecting with, improving and protecting their local environment.

Mike Forty- Catchment Science Coordinator for Ribble Life Together

Mike joined Ribble Rivers Trust in 2012 to delivery monitoring under the Catchment Restoration Funded projects, and has since worked on a number of projects, predominately focused on monitoring and investigation aspects. Mike now leads on the Trusts’s catchment science strategy, and coordinating with other partners delivering catchment science projects.

Neil Ashworth- Education Assistant

credit www.clearwaterphotography.co.uk (2)Neil joined in 2013 to help run the Rivers in the Classroom project as part of the URES project in Burnley, and is now developing an initiative to run fishing lessons in schools as well as helping to develop further educational activities that can be linked into school curriculums.

Adam Walmsley- Captial Work Development Officer for Ribble Life Together

IMG_5242Adam started as a volunteer in 2008 and in 2011 he completed his Master Dissertation with the Trust. Adam then joined the team as the Lancashire INNS project officer in 2011 before taking on capital works projects.

Richard Atton- Volunteer Supervisor

IMG_5257Richard joined us in 2010; having worked for Natural England for a number of years, he now works part-time for the Trust delivering “on the ground improvements” with our volunteers across the catchment throughout the year.

Jonny Walker – Ribble Life Together Volunteer Supervisor

Jonny joined us from the National Trust in the summer of 2017, and leads our day to day river improvement projects with Volunteers.

Ceri Katz- Agricultural Project Officer

IMG_5250Ceri works delivers of a range of agricultural projects for the Ribble Rivers Trust; drawing on her background in agriculture and upland peat restoration Ceri helps farmers make improvements to the landscape which benefit the ecology of the area whilst being compatible with the farm business.

Charlotte Ireland- Project Administration Officer

Charlotte joined the Ribble Rivers Trust in 2015 in order to assist the management staff and fulfil the additional administrative duties required as part of the Ribble Life Together Project including encouraging volunteer participation, promoting the Trust at events and assisting with monitoring.

Ellie Brown- GIS Data and Evidence Officer

Emily Bateman- Education Officer

Emily joined the Trust in 2016 as part of the Ribble Life Together project to take the Rivers in the Classroom education programme into schools. She is also developing a series of circular walks and getting colleges and other community groups out to enjoy, learn about and protect their rivers. Emily is a qualified primary teacher with previous experience of working in environmental education and freshwater scientific research.

Matt Powell- Farm Advisor

Michelle Tierney- Apprentice

Michelle joined the Trust in 2017 as part of the Ribble Life Together Projects apprenticeship scheme. Working closely with Jonny, Michelle is combining her knowledge of the countryside with practical countryside activities to learn how to manage the countryside for wildlife and people.

Nick Prince- Senior Farm Advisor

Nick joined the Trust in December 2017 as Senior Agricultural Projects Officer. His role is to liaise with farmers across the catchment to offer advice and develop projects to help the farm business improve its economic and environmental performance. He comes to the Trust with a practical background in upland agriculture, running a 400-acre farm near Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. He also has considerable experience in education and advisory work, with an academic interest in rural property relationships.

Adam Wheeler – Fisheries Monitoring Officer

Adam joined the Ribble Trust in 2017 as the catchment’s Fisheries Officer. Having volunteered previously with the Trust as a survey assistant, his main role currently is to deliver the annual electric fishing programme.


The trust is a registered charity and has 8 dedicated trustees, each possessing valued experience and skills that they voluntarily provide to the Trust, ranging from business and project management, to accountancy and water chemistry.
Read more about our trustees

Charity number: 1070672
Company number:3498691
The Ribble Rivers Trust is the trading name of the Ribble Catchment Conservation Trust Ltd.