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The River Rede’s journey starts in the upland bogs of Whitelee National Nature Reserve near Carter Bar, from where it flows 24 miles through Catcleugh Reservoir, past farmland to the River North Tyne. As the tributaries travel through the surrounding moors, the peat bogs help regulate the water quality and flow. This river system supports salmon, trout and freshwater pearl mussels.
Freshwater Pearl Mussels
The Rede is one of the few places in England supporting a population of freshwater pearl mussels. These rare bivalves, which can live for over 100 years, filter water through their gills and improve the water quality for other species.
Sadly, in the Rede, there are few breeding mussels to maintain the population. Various changes to the river over the past century have all impacted on the mussels’ riverbed habitat. Catcleugh Reservoir has altered the river’s flow and sediment transport downstream; gravel removal and straightening have severely affected the river form; and more intense forestry and farming practices have contributed larger sediment loads to the river.
The most important action to save freshwater pearl mussels, and support associated river life, is a catchment-wide change to land management to address the amount of nutrient and fine sediment entering the rivers. Revitalising Redesdale is working with land managers and farmers on projects to re-establish natural river processes, slow flows and capture sediment, build rapid and riffle features, create new wetland areas, plant trees along the riverbanks and manage grazing.
Have you spotted some interesting wildlife in Redesdale?