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Work begins on Holland Wood fish pass

Holland Wood Weir lies on the River Darwen, close to its confluence with the River Ribble and the limit of the tidal Ribble area. The weir was originally constructed to provide water to the nearby Walton Mill, which historically milled corn and flour. Although the mill, which is now operated by Massey Bros, still exists only the weir remains.

At over 3 metres high, 10 meters long, and 26 metres wide the weir is now a redundant man-made barrier to local and migratory fish. It is thought that eels are the only species that is able to move up and down the river, although many other species such as salmon, brown trout, minnow, chub, roach, gudgeon, stoneloach, stickleback, flounder, and bullhead are present in the area. Additionally, the weir causes other problems, with the creation of incision downstream, and gravel and silt deposition upstream.

Ribble Rivers Trust are in the process of creating a fish-pass around the side of the weir which will help these fish species move upstream, as well as improve the ecology of the River Darwen in general. A feasibility study showed that due to the topography of the area, the height of the weir and the nature of the flows in the catchment a fish-pass was the best option.

The fish passage will be a close-to-nature bypass channel, similar in design to the one created at Oakenshaw in 2017. This channel will redirect 5-10% of the rivers flow into a separate, specially designed channel which can be used as an alternative route upstream for migratory fish.

Construction work is now underway, and we hope that work will be completed by the end of July.

This project is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

This construction work is adhering to Government and Construction Leadership Council guidance for COVID-19.