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IMPROVING PRIMROSE LODGE MARKS 20 YEARS OF RIBBLE RIVERS TRUST

The Ribble Rivers Trust has had funding confirmed from the European Regional Development Fund for the ‘Primrose Lodge Blue and Greenway Project’.

Primrose Lodge, located in the centre of Clitheroe, was historically constructed to power Primrose Works.  The site has long been identified as requiring improvement, both environmentally and for public access.

Working with Ribble Valley Borough Council and the site owners, Beck Developments Limited, the Ribble Trust has developed a project plan to support the application for funding to improve the lodge.  Beginning in 2019 with a planned finish date in autumn 2020, the proposed works will be split into three phases.

The first phase is de-silting, which involves digging out 4,000 cubic metres of silt in key areas to create permanent open water, and re-landscaping within the existing site.  This will be complemented with the planting of emergent and marginal vegetation, which will provide habitat for insect, birds, amphibians and fish.

The second phase proposes the creation of public access within the site.  A footpath is planned between Whalley Road and Woone Lane, with a new bridge over the brook, a board walk and a viewing platform over the newly restored open water area.  The stone wall between Woone Lane and the lodge will also be removed and the overgrown woodland areas will be thinned out, providing improved views into the site.

The final phase of the project is the construction of what is expected to be the longest fish pass in England, which will allow salmon, trout, eels and other fish species to migrate further along Mearley Brook through the town and beyond to the village of Worston.  This will help to boost fish populations, which in turn will encourage otters, kingfishers and other river species, which are commonly found below the lodge, yet absent or in very low numbers upstream.

The proposed creation of public access to blue and green space is seen to be particularly beneficial to local communities and it is hoped this will attract further visitors to Clitheroe.  As well as benefiting the town, the works will help to improve water quality and contribute to reducing downstream flood risk.

Jack Spees, CEO of the Ribble Rivers Trust comments “This work doesn’t just benefit aquatic animals, it’s good news for the communities who live nearby, many of whom have expressed support for improvements to be made to the Lodge.  This will provide the communities access to more blue and green space, and to be able to experience nature up close not far from home.  We also hope this will encourage more people to visit, enjoy and value the rivers and green spaces of Clitheroe”.

Ben Wilkinson, Managing Director of Beck Developments comments “RRT’s successful bid for European funding represents the greatest opportunity in a generation to not only regenerate the lodge in the short term but to put in place a long-term management plan which would safeguard this under-utilised blue and green space for the public to enjoy for many generations to come.”

Ken Hind, Leader of the Council said “There has been a longstanding aspiration for works to improve this site, and I am delighted that a scheme has come forward.  The scheme will now go through the planning process and the committee will carefully assess the application”.

Ribble Rivers Trust became a Charity in 1998 and has delivered an enormous amount of work all around the Ribble Catchment, from Ribblehead in the Yorkshire Dales to Preston and everywhere in between.  Initially set up as a voluntary organisation, the Trust employed its first member of staff in 2005 and established a base in Clitheroe.   As part of its 20-year anniversary, the Ribble Trust has focused activities to improve and celebrate the streams and rivers of Clitheroe, and the wider Ribble Valley, including this project, a celebration event as part of the Heritage Open Day at Edisford Bridge which was held on the 15th of September, and has aspirations to develop a river-themed visitor centre in Clitheroe in the near future.

The Ribble Rivers Trust (RRT) is a local environmental charity established in 1997 to protect and restore the rivers, streams and watercourses within the Ribble catchment and to raise public awareness of the value of our local rivers and streams. The Ribble catchment is the area of land that is drained by the River Ribble and its major tributaries; the Hodder, Calder and Darwen. It covers a varied landscape, from the rural hills of the Yorkshire Dales and the source of the River Ribble, to major urban areas of Lancashire including Blackburn, Burnley and Preston. For more information visit www.ribbletrust.org.uk

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance- please read

The Ribble Rivers Trust has had funding confirmed from the European Regional Development Fund for the ‘Primrose Lodge Blue and Greenway Project’.

Please note that, following Government guidelines and the fact UK Chief Medical Officers have now raised the Coronavirus (COVID-19) risk to the UK from moderate to high, Ribble Rivers Trust are taking precautions, and making changes to our day to day operations.

Some Ribble Rivers Trust staff are now working from home. If you wish to speak to a specific member of staff and you know their mobile phone number or email address please contact them in this way. Otherwise please contact us in the usual way.

Volunteer event cancellations

Dear volunteers,

It is with regret that we announce that we are postponing all volunteer activity with Ribble Rivers Trust. We know there are many benefits to volunteering, including the positive boost to mental and physical health, the chance to meet others and contribute positively to your local area. However, given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the most recent Government advice – asking everybody in the UK to stay at home and only go out for essentials such as food and medicine – we feel that continuing to include volunteers in the limited work we are able to do now would put people at unnecessary risk and be irresponsible. We all want to improve and protect our environment and rivers, but to do that we need to stay healthy and this must be our priority for the time being. We will continue to keep you up to date with the work we are able to do and will organise new volunteer days as soon as we possibly can. Please stay connected with us over the coming weeks and keep yourselves safe and well.

Refer to gov.uk/coronavirus for up to date information and guidance.

We will come through this and our environment and rivers will still need you, let’s make sure we’re all ready for it when the time comes.

Yours faithfully,

Jack Spees.

The Ribble Rivers Trust (RRT) is a local environmental charity established in 1997 to protect and restore the rivers, streams and watercourses within the Ribble catchment and to raise public awareness of the value of our local rivers and streams. The Ribble catchment is the area of land that is drained by the River Ribble and its major tributaries; the Hodder, Calder and Darwen. It covers a varied landscape, from the rural hills of the Yorkshire Dales and the source of the River Ribble, to major urban areas of Lancashire including Blackburn, Burnley and Preston. For more information visit www.ribbletrust.org.uk

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