'LEAKY dams' have been installed by the River Irwell to help reduce flooding.

The new project in Buckden Wood, Stubbins, hopes to reduce flooding in the catchment area of the river using natural flood management methods.

Delivered by the National Trust and funded by the Environment Agency, the project will use natural materials from the local area with an aim of reducing the impact of flooding on nearby communities including Irwell Vale, Strongstry, Chatterton and Ramsbottom, with hopes that local wildlife and their habitats will also benefit.

The first phase launched in January has already seen eighteen ‘leaky dams’ installed along the brook that flows through the woodland into the River Irwell.

They are called ‘leaky dams’ due to acting as natural interventions in slowing the flow of water, rather than redirecting or stopping the water altogether.

Ten stone dams made of large sandstone boulders and eight timber dams using logs from the local woodland have been erected and further down the catchment just above Strongstry, ten smaller timber dams have also been created.

Nik Taylor, ranger for the National Trust’s Stubbins Estate, says: “Reducing the risk of flooding is a big priority for us in our aim to protect and care for nature, and we’re so grateful for the support of the Environment Agency in making this project in Buckden Wood possible.

“We’ve seen the devastating effects that flooding can have on local communities and the environment, particularly in the River Irwell catchment area, and the use of these natural methods is a really important way that we can help to reduce this.

“Over the coming months, we’ll be monitoring the dams and moving onto the next phase of the project to build more small dams. We’ll also be working with volunteers from the local community to plant over 1,000 trees.”

The new trees will be planted in steeper contours of the surrounding land, providing useful nature corridors which will link existing woodland and provide dense cover for local birdlife such as warblers.