Cam and Gayle Beck Restoration

Why is restoration required?

Cam and Gayle Becks are two of the formative tributaries of the River Ribble and they are suffering ecologically for a number of reasons. Firstly, the presence of man-made grips on the moors results in unnatural drainage of rainwater. For the river, this means flashy high flows in times of intense rainfall and unnaturally low flows during dry periods.  The result is an over-widened river channel with high rates of erosion and little or no bankside vegetation. Secondly, this area of the Dales is very agricultural and as such, a landscape that was one covered with trees has been cleared for grazing. This leaves the river highly exposed to direct sunlight, which may be detrimental to fish populations in future years as climate change causes water temperatures to rise. The lack of trees also means a lack of crucial habitat for wildlife.

Project aims?

To restore Cam and Gayle Becks to a more natural state in order to support a greater abundance of wildlife, whilst tackling the issue of artificial flows resulting from moorland drainage.

What has been achieved so far?

Some of the moorland grips have already been blocked and many more have been surveyed, with a view to blocking more in future years. Riparian fencing has been erected and thousands of native trees planted to create corridors of woodland along the watercourses. Large woody debris has also been installed along the channel sides. Not only will this provide a haven for fish, birds, mammals and invertebrates, it will also help to buffer diffuse pollution and reduce excessive erosion.

Who has been involved in the project?

The Ribble Rivers Trust has been working on Cam and Gayle Becks since 2010, with funding from the Ninevah Trust and the Environment Agency. The project would not have been possible without the cooperation of the landowners and the goodwill of the Trust’s volunteers, who spent countless days working on the project. Although, it’s not a bad place to be working outdoors is it?!

What’s next?

The Ribble Trust continues to work at the top of the Ribble as part of their Limestone Ribble Restoration project.

Wharfedale in Yorkshire is a valley favoured by nature and enriched by romance. From 'Wharfedale' by Ella Pontefract & Marie Hartley

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