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The river crossing at Smoutel Ford was lost because so much stone and gravel was removed during the mid-1900s. Revitalising Redesdale’s work will reintroduce about 1400 tonnes of boulder and cobble sized stone to the river bed, to re-create the Ford and associated rocky riffle features. This will reinvigorate the flow in this deeper section and so improve the habitat for fish, river flies and mussels.
This restored section of the Rede had suffered from a lack of gravels upstream to feed the riverbed, so as well as reconnecting the bridleway, this action will benefit river ecology beyond the 300m restored length. The Smoutel Ford project has been supported by the local land owners and received funding from Northumberland County Council. Already you can see how much the river flow is changing, from slow and flat, to bumpy rapids and small pools. The main work here will be completed in Autumn 2019 with further introductions of gravel downstream planned for 2020, to further improve the form and flow.