safe to splash

In 2022 Ribble Rivers Trust launched their exciting new Safe to Splash campaign. This campaign aims to secure bathing water status for a local paddling hotspot on River Ribble at Edisford Bridge, Clitheroe.

The launch of the campaign for Bathing Water Status is a way of improving water quality for local wildlife and human communities. This campaign also hopes to raise awareness of rivers, their value as part of a balanced ecosystem, and their importance to local communities.

Edisford Bridge is an ever-popular picnic, bathing, swimming, paddling, fishing, and water sports spot. This makes it an ideal candidate for Bathing Water Status. With people visiting from miles around to take a dunk in the Ribble’s waters, this is an area that is ever growing in popularity.

At the end of 2022 our application was sadly unsuccessful. Despite this, we will be trying again! So, throughout the summer of 2023 we will continue gathering water quality and survey data.

Edisford Bridge- the focus for Safe to Splash

what will safe to splash achieve?

Like 86% of England’s rivers, the Ribble sadly fails to meet the criteria needed for ‘good’ ecological status or chemical status. In an area like the Ribble Valley there are multiple contributing factors affecting water quality. These include agricultural pollution, sewage pollution, and pollution from homes including septic tanks and misconnected drains and appliances.

The bulk of the work for Safe to Splash involves collecting data on the people that use the site. So, Ribble Rivers Trust will carry out extensive surveys. These will aim to gather data which shows how many people visit Edisford Bridge, the importance of the river to local communities and, perhaps most importantly, which harmful substances are present in the water and in what quantities.  This body of evidence will be used in the application for Bathing Water Status.

If successful this stretch of the Ribble would join one of a handful of inland rivers being monitored. Other areas include the Wharfe which has benefitted from hugely successful Ilkley Clean River Campaign. All areas with Bathing Water Status are receive regular monitoring during the bathing season (15 May to 30 September) for bacteria detrimental to human health. Each site receives a designation of either excellent, good, satisfactory or poor.

The Ribble Valley is lucky enough to have some of the most beautiful rivers in the country. However, many of these amazing spaces are suffering from various man-made problems, including water pollution. By gaining Bathing Water Status for this well-loved spot at Edisford Bridge we can ensure that people are safe to swim and paddle in the water. Once Bathing Water Status has been obtained, we hope that this will set a precedent and inspire others to care for their local rivers and green spaces.

Is safe to splash needed?

Safe to Splash will make sure bathers like these can dunk with confidence!

As well as helping people to make informed decisions about water quality before they take a dip, this status will encourage water industries and environmental bodies to take measures to lower pollution levels and deal with the problems facing our rivers head on.

Plus, throughout the campaign, the Trust’s farm advisors will be on hand to give advice on water friendly farming,. They can also help by advising on grant availability to help fund changes.

A large-scale river watch in the area is in the planning stages as part of Safe to Splash. Featuring different surveys for different user groups, these river watch surveys will enable people of all ages and skill levels to record what they find at their local river. Over time, safer water will boost the local economy by attracting a greater number of visitors. This will, in turn, attract more investment in infrastructure in the area.

Throughout this campaign Ribble Rivers Trust will work and consult other interest groups and partners, including the local authorities. The public consultation has already started, and Ribble Trust would love to hear your opinions on the idea. To complete the survey, visit This short survey will play a big role in the application.

For further information about the Safe to Splash campaign contact Ribble Rivers Trust via