West Wolds Slow The Flow – partner update

Our friends over in East Yorkshire, West Wolds Slow The Flow (WWSTF), have reached an exciting milestone, with their first work on the ground starting this spring.

They shared the update below in early March 2024, and you can now read their report on the exciting work at Drewton Beck here (opens a pdf in a new window)

In the rush to get ready for works on site, we failed to spot the significance of what is about to happen.  After nearly four years of discussions, planning, negotiation (Spring 2020-2024), we are about to take our first steps to create Natural Flood Management measures on site. 

Tomorrow, Wednesday until Friday, East Yorkshire Rivers Trust (EYRT) will be on-site at Drewton Beck, clearing some overgrown willows and scrub along the beck, to “sky-light” sections, to allow more light into the valley floor, to improve the biodiversity of the beck.  The cuttings will be used, depending on their size, to form either brash piles for habitat, or to create small leaky barriers along the beck, to help along what is already a very nicely natural area, giving it more “roughness” and resistance to the passage of water, by pushing storm flows onto the floodplain. 

We will make sure to get lots of photos and videos to share. 

EYRT will move on, next week, to do some more clearance work on Prattwood in North Newbald.  Both of these are operations that need to take place before the nesting season gets properly underway. 

We are immensely grateful to the respective landowners and farmers for their cooperation and for being willing to share our vision – even if it isn’t always clear just what that looks like! 

Next steps are to progress the plans for some more substantive works on four sites (Prattwood, Drewton Beck, and Woodale and Millfield, Ellerker), working towards obtaining the necessary landowner and planning approvals, and other clearances, for earthworks and re-meandering on those sites, to take place this coming summer. 

Meanwhile, the data capture project (https://www.westwoldsslowtheflow.org.uk/downloads/DataCapture+SiteProposals-2023-09(A4P).pdf) is going tremendously well, thanks to the fantastic support of University of Hull, Farson Digital and the landowners who are kindly hosting the monitoring devices. 

Similarly, we are setting up, with EYRT and the Freshwater Biological Association, a citizen science biodiversity monitoring project https://www.westwoldsslowtheflow.org.uk/documents/4_Useful_Info/VLink-2023_12_(WWSTF-Biology).pdf  which will work, together with University of Hull biological surveys and EYRT fish monitoring, to create a real picture of the health of our wonderful chalk-stream catchment.

There is always more going on.  We are planning to talk to more landowners across our area to discuss future possible sites.  We want to engage more effectively with the agricultural community and help to share the many benefits that our partners can bring.  We need to work more closely with our wonderful primary schools, all of which (if today went well!) will now have a weather station installed by our friends at the University of Hull. 

Thank you to everyone for the many ways in which you have supported (or tolerated) WWSTF.  We look forward to the continuing adventure of creating a more sustainable and climate-resilient future in our small corner of the world.  After all, when so much in the news seems to be overwhelming, helping our own patch – to improve the present and get ready for the future – is simply the best that we can do. 

Thanks again 

Bill & Elizabeth Blackledge