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Deeper Connections: restoring Long Preston Deeps

An exciting new collaborative project will see further improvements to the Long Preston Deeps.

The Long Preston Floodplain Project is an ongoing partnership between the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT), RSPB, Natural England, the Environment Agency, North Yorkshire County Council, Ribble Rivers Trust, local landowners and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Sited close to the village of Long Preston and close to Settle, the Long Preston Deeps SSSI has been of special interest to Ribble Rivers Trust for many years. Covering a vast area 766 hectares, with 162 hectares of designated SSSI, this site is very special for numerous reasons.

The site is particularly unique because of its unusual river geomorphology. However, it also provides amazing habitat for birds and breeding waders and supports many rare plant species. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly for local residents, this floodplain is capable of holding a huge amount of water; playing a vital role in controlling and containing flood waters.

In 2021, YDMT received a grant of £244,700 from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. One of numerous funds which has been designed to boost green jobs and nature recovery. Thanks to this funding YDMT and Ribble Rivers Trust have been able to join forces once again. This new phase of the Long Preston Floodplain project is called ‘Deeper Connections’.

Deeper Connections will create and restore 10 hectares of habitat within the Deeps, focusing on establishing ‘wildlife corridors’ made up of riverside woodlands, hedgerows, and improvements to river water quality.
Ribble Rivers Trust's farm advisor Heather leads a walk
Guided walks are one of many ways we help to raise awareness of the Deeps. Photo A Shadrake

As well as physical environmental improvements the project also aims to involve people by improving their access to nature. Installing better information boards to improve learning, running volunteering and outdoor events, and providing high quality online learning resources will help people to better understand this unique and special place.

As one of the project’s primary partners, Ribble Rivers Trust will help to deliver the tree and hedgerow planting. Additionally, we will install nest boxes for tree sparrows; a species that has suffered a serious decline. We will also help to survey and identify the most suitable areas to plant new trees to replace ash trees; a species which is suffering from loss to the Ash Dieback disease.

Building on the success of the Long Preston Floodplain partnership over the last 17 years, Deeper Connections will help to keep the momentum going by continuing to restore the area in harmony with agriculture, such that the mosaics of different habitats of the Deeps will become better connected.