Branston Beck Community project

The second of our summaries of Conservation Awards finalists: 

The limestone becks of Lincolnshire can be home to important species such as the water vole, brown trout and native crayfish, alongside a substantial array of regionally and nationally rare insects, but historic changes to the becks including dredging and straightening along with more recent stresses from abstraction and pollution have resulted in degraded habitat for wildlife. 

The Community Project site upstream of the village of Branston near Lincoln offered a great opportunity to improve habitat for spawning brown trout
and other wildlife and also involve locals in creating an attractive yet biodiverse section of accessible stream. This project, led by Lincolshire Rivers Trust, set out to:

• install brushwood mattresses to create some channel sinuosity and improve in-stream habitat to clean the gravels;

• selectively coppice trees to let more light into the stream

• add pollinator and aquatic plant interest;

• connect the community with their local stream.

Volunteer work parties carried out the physical in-stream habitat improvements and local young people were involved in a bird and bat box making day; those boxes now form part of a village trail. Schoolchildren were also involved in planting by the beck. 

WTT’s judges recognised the project’s success in bringing together a diverse, involved group from the local community, Rivers Trust, EA and Internal Drainage Board, the latter in an exemplary way. 

This project will pave the way for large-scale work across Lincolnshire’s beleaguered limestone becks and benefit trout and other wildlife, even where there are no angling interests.

Photos below — Branston Beck before (left) and after.

Branston Beck before
Branston Beck after comp

Details of the winning entries for the Conservation Awards can be found here