Advice and Practical Help

General advice and support

WTT’s team of nine full and part-time Conservation Officers, based across England, provide advice about the management of rivers and lakes through advisory visits, e‑mail and phone. They also collaborate in the development and delivery of partnership projects with a wide range of organisations including community conservation groups, fishing clubs, rivers and wildlife trusts and government agencies.

If you’d like our support or discuss how we might help you, contact your local Conservation Officer or email Christina in the WTT office. All our email addresses and phone numbers are on the contact us’ page of the website.

Team Feb 2020 1 crop
The WTT conservation team. Left to right: Tim Jacklin, Andy Thomas, Shaun Leonard, Rob Mungovan, Jonathan Grey, Nick Lawrence, Paul Gaskell, Gareth Pedley, Theo Pike, Bruno Vincent (now replaced by Ed Eley)

Advisory Visits (AVs)

These visits provide expert, practical advice to individuals or organisations that have responsibility for a stretch of river or a lake which is, or could be, wild trout habitat

One of our Conservation Officers will walk your stretch of river with you and discuss how you can best manage and improve the habitat. They will give you a report with recommendations and advice on techniques consents and project funding. This report is usually the basis of a habitat improvement project or change in habitat management – more than 90% of our visits and reports result in practical action.

Advisory Visits in England are largely funded by the Environment Agency through rod licence revenues. The visits and the report are FREE; you only pay travel expenses. We also carry out visits in Wales, Scotland and Ireland and these are also free subject to funds being available.

If you would like an Advisory Visit, send an email to projects@​wildtrout.​org or write to the WTT office at Freepost WILD TROUT TRUST (this is the complete address) with a request for support and a short summary of the location and current management of the site.

Copies of Advisory Visit reports are held on this website (there are hundreds of them!) and can be viewed on a map. Use the search criteria to help find reports of interest to you. 

These (Advisory) visits and the very comprehensive professional reports generated from them are the real strength of the WTT and reinforce the feeling of an organisation that punches well above its weight’ and actually gets things done.

Don Stazicker, Cressbrook and Litton Flyfishers
Andy Nov 08 With Students 3
WTT Conservation Officer Andy Thomas explains the good, the bad and the potential for improvement.

Project Proposals

Following (or sometimes instead of) an Advisory Visit, our Conservation Officers can write-up Project Proposals. These reports are more in-depth than AVs, detailing methods for particular enhancement projects. Very often, our Project Proposals form the basis of applications to the regulatory authorities for practical in-river habitat enhancement work.

River Habitat Workshops

The Wild Trout Trust is a hands on, muddy-waders organisation, so we like nothing better than teaching people the practical skills they need to improve the habitat of their local river. These sessions take place in the river and on the river bank and are led by WTT Conservation Officers.

The WTT Conservation Officers are fully trained to run these days, including health and safety aspects of this work, first aid, and use of chainsaws and other equipment. Participants do not use chain saws or other heavy equipment and do not need any special skills other than a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to get wet and dirty!

Waders, gloves and any other protective equipment required can be provided by the WTT.

River Habitat Workshops are one day sessions run for groups of up to 15 people from a wide range of backgrounds including volunteers for local community conservation groups, fishing club members, Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers and Environment Agency and Local Government staff.

These workshops are tailored to the needs of the participants, with the aim of providing practical experience of how to manage and improve river habitat for the benefit of wildlife and the community. They are hands-on, in the river, wet and muddy sessions, but tremendous fun as well as great learning opportunities.

These sessions will generally also include short talks on the river bank about relevant issues such as land use, water quality, managing floods and droughts as well as an invertebrate kick sample to look at the bugs in the river and introduce the Anglers Riverfly Monitoring Initiative.

Thank you so much for organising the training day today. I thoroughly enjoyed myself — I still can’t get over just how quickly the river flow was changing after our cutting and building. The trout’ guys obviously know exactly what they are doing !

River Habitat Workshop participant
Rrc Sept 2013 Comp

Practical Visits

Practical Visits are similar to workshops in that they are highly practical and held for group of people, but they generally follow on from an Advisory Visit and are more focused delivering a specific project with, for example, a fishing club. Practical Visits last from 1 – 3 days and may deliver part or all of a project identified in an Advisory Visit or Project Proposal.

The types of activity carried out in these sessions will be determined by the river and the opportunities to improve habitat, but will typically include:

  • Protecting banks from erosion using natural materials.
  • Installing flow deflectors and large woody debris to introduce more variation in depths and flows.
  • Creating tree kickers’ along the bank to provide protection from erosion as well as essential cover from predators for trout.
  • Coppicing of bankside trees both to win material for in river’ work and to illustrate how to manage bankside vegetation.
  • Removing weirs.
Bilbrook1 640
Scopwick Lads

Reference materials

We have a comprehensive set of manuals and guides which are designed to help people to carry out habitat improvement and management. These are practical how to’ guides and come in a variety of formats – book, CD, downloadable PDF and video. Visit the library on this website to view and download, or order publications in our shop. 

Some examples are listed below: 
The Wild Trout Survival Guide
. A step by step guide to wild trout conservation and river habitat projects.

Habitat Management Sheets. A set of six 2 page guides covering topics such as bank erosion, managing trees and invasive species. Available to download as PDFs

Our YouTube channel has a series of video guides to habitat improvement