AN army of volunteers worked to protect a Ribble Valley river from future erosion after nearby fencing collapsed.

More than 60 people from United Utilities and the Ribble Rivers Trust helped to restore a stretch of Bashall Brook which runs into the River Ribble near Edisford Bridge in Clitheroe.


The group used old Christmas trees to protect the banks from erosion and tackled more than 300m of old fence which had collapsed into the stream.

Jonathan Culf, from United Utilities, said he thought the day was a great success.

He said: “More than 60 members of staff from the Asset Management Directorate at United Utilities were happy to volunteer their time to work with the Ribble Rivers Trust on this project, which will hopefully contribute towards making a really positive change to the river water quality in Bashall Brook.”

The fencing, which was 12 years old, had embedded itself deep into the ground, but volunteers managed to make light work of the challenge getting it all removed by the end of the morning.

The team also harvested and fed living willow into the banks to absorb some of the river’s erosive power and provide habitats for young fish and the insects that they eat.

It formed part of the development phase of a Heritage Lottery funded project called Ribble Life Together.

The project aims to improve the Ribble catchment for wildlife and people.

Emily Bateman, from the trust, said: “It was fantastic to have the support of everyone involved on this task.

“It is staggering how much they got done in just one morning.

“It is tough, labour-intensive work but everyone got stuck in with great enthusiasm and we could not tackle such projects in such little time without the support of such keen and willing volunteers.”

It is hoped that the work will help to strengthen the trust’s relationship with land owners and encourage participation in similar project in the future.

Cllr Terry Hill, deputy leader of Ribble Valley Council, said: “I think this is a really good initiative which shows how some people really do care about keeping river tidy.”