Volunteer planting adds the final touches to improved River Shep

This a short press release that we put in to the local media in Cambridgeshire, and we were very pleased to see it picked up by them: 

More than 20 volunteers from Barrington and Shepreth added the final touches to a river habitat improvement project delivered at the end of July near to Barrington on the River Shep with over 1000 plants.

The project is led by the Wild Trout Trust, and recent work included 200 tonnes of gravel carefully placed into the river to create new spawning areas for brown trout, minnows and dace. Riverbanks have also been re-graded to create new habitat for water voles, and trees managed bring more light to previously shaded parts of the river.

Rob Mungovan, Wild Trout Trust Conservation Officer who also lives in the community, said Taking care of these chalk streams is important given the wealth of wildlife that they support. The clean water provides great habitat for wild brown trout and water voles can still be found amongst the abundant plant life.”

The work was part funded by the Environment Agency in a drive to see rivers improved to good ecological status’. The Shep provides an important nursery ground for fish that use the nearby River Rhee. 

Lou Mayer EA Environment Programme Manager said, The Agency works in partnership with others to achieve action for the good of our rivers.”

Local company, the Seearo Group, also helped to fund the project so that the river could be made more accessible allowing local children to play in the clean gravel-lined stream.

Clive Onslow, Director at Seearo, said, I was aware of Rob’s idea’s to improve the River Shep, and am pleased to be able to help this project along. It’s great to see large machinery being used to re-build habitats when so often people see them as a cause for alarm.”

The River Shep is a chalk river that rises at the RSPB’s Fowlmere Nature Reserve from chalk springs. The river flows for ~2.5km through the village of Shepreth to meet the River Rhee at Barrington. The Friends of the River Shep have looked over the River Shep for 20 years, helping to keep it in good shape in partnership with Rob Mungovan. 

The River Shep suffers from low flows with the 2019 drought making the situation particularly bad. After two dry winters ground water levels are very low which, when combined with water abstraction, puts a huge strain on the river flow and the wildlife that depends on it. The project created a new low-flow channel in the river which will make it more adaptable to the challenges of drought and climate change.

The Wild Trout Trust would like to thank the landowner for his trust on the project

and to the local community for their patience during the delivery phase. 

To find out more about the River Shep habitat improvement work and how you can get involved, contact Friends of the River Shep forshep@​hotmail.​co.​uk or visit their Facebook page.

R Shep volunteers lend a hand planting Rob Mungovan WTT comp
Young R Shep volunteers lend a hand planting Rob Mungovan WTT comp
R Shep volunteers lending a hand planting Rob Mungovan comp