About Us

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.


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.


Charlotte Ireland- Office Administration

Charlotte joined the Ribble Rivers Trust part time in 2015 in order to assist the management staff and fulfil the additional administrative duties required as part of the Ribble Life Together Project whilst working towards a degree as an adult learner. Having now completed her education Charlotte works full time completing a range of administrative duties.

Ellie Brown- GIS Data and Evidence Officer

Ellie joined the team in 2015 as part of the Ribble Life Together project. She combines her love of wildlife and the environment with her knowledge of GIS (mapping software) to support many aspects of the Trust’s work. Catchment-scale analyses to aid the Trust’s strategic planning of projects, to target locations where they will have the greatest benefit; collating and mapping evidence to support funding bids; creating interactive maps for the Trust’s website to educate and inform the public; managing the Trust’s GIS datasets; and helping other members of the team with various mapping tasks are all in a week’s work for a GIS Officer. Ellie also manages or assists with other non-GIS-based data and evidence aspects of the Trust’s work.

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

Matthew Joined the trust in 2017, with experience across a range of UK agriculture including hill, mixed and arable, complemented with a BSc Hons In Agriculture with Farm Business Management. Work at the Trust involves delivering farm visits, workshops/events aimed at providing advice around diffuse pollution and the mitigatory measures that can be implemented. Key aims involve identifying on-farm opportunities that will benefit the water environment and whilst benefiting the farm business. This can involve identification of capital grant funding, improved nutrient management, or identification of areas more suitable to habitat schemes.

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 alongside planning and delivering river habitat improvements.

Helen Smith- Community Projects & Activities Officer

Helen joined the team in 2018. With a background in community engagement in the environmental sector, Helen organises our engagement activities including; events and family activities, guided walks, wildlife talks and workshops. Helen is also arranging the installation of interpretation panels at our completed projects and is involved with our river-related arts projects.

Amelia Fawcett- River Conservation Apprentice

I help with all the practical tasks such as tree planting, brash bundling, and fencing, and work with the volunteers on volunteer days supporting them to do the practical tasks as well. I have a background in volunteering within the environmental sector. I like working here as its what I want to do as future career once I finish my education.

Kathryn Oddie- Farm Advisor

Kathryn joined the team in 2019. Kathryn works as a farm advisor for the trust on the Ribble Life Together project and runs the River Loud Facilitation Fund group. As well as being a local farmers daughter, she has a background in agri- environment and environmental monitoring.

Susie Kinghan- Project Manager

Susie joined the team in 2019 to manage a range of river restoration projects including weir removals, fish-pass construction, re-naturalising river channels and peat restoration to improve water quality. Prior to joining the Trust, Susie spent the last five years working on water supply and sanitation projects in Mozambique.


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.