Ribble river volunteers rewarded with Farmhouse Fare puddings

The volunteers at Cam Beck with their puddings, including pupils from 'Settle Middle School's John Muir Award group.
The volunteers at Cam Beck with their puddings, including pupils from 'Settle Middle School's John Muir Award group.

VOLUNTEERS for the Ribble Rivers Trust saw their efforts rewarded with delicious puddings, courtesy of Clitheroe-based Farmhouse Fare.

The volunteers had been planting trees along the banks of Cam Beck, near Horton-in Ribblesdale, on Saturday to improve the habitat for wildlife. Farmhouse Fare, the company founded by local farmers’ daughter Helen Colley, is supporting Ribble Rivers Trust by supplying its chocolate sponge and sticky toffee treats to reward and encourage volunteers.

Despite the fact Cam Beck flows through the idyllic Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Ribble Trust had identified through its annual surveys that the river was not supporting the level of aquatic wildlife it should.

A lack of shade and cover from trees and insufficient overhanging vegetation had resulted in poor fish habitat. With few fish in the beck, other wildlife that relies on them such as otters, kingfishers and dippers are largely absent from the area. However with the 4,000 new trees the Ribble Trust and its volunteers have planted, it is very likely these species will make a return.

Cam Beck’s channel has also been over-widened over the years due to high levels of erosion caused by flash floods. It is believed the presence of man-made grips (drainage channels) on the surrounding moors is responsible for this flash flooding, causing rainfall to reach the river too quickly.

By blocking these grips, water will be stored on the upland moors for longer, reducing the magnitude of the peak flows and the level of erosion in the channel. The Ribble Trust has already blocked a number of grips on Blea Moor, but there is still a lot more work to be done there.

If you’d like to volunteer for the Ribble Trust to help with their conservation work, send an e-mail to Catherine Birtwistle at: admin@ribbletrust.com