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River Rede Restoration Work Starts at Smoutel Ford

August 20, 2019

River restoration work starts this week at Smoutel Ford, West Woodburn.  Revitalising Redesdale Partnership will rebuild the historic bridleway across the Rede valley, allowing walkers and riders to enjoy trails between Monkridge Hill and Otterburn for the first time in decades.

The river crossing at Smoutel Ford was lost because so much stone and gravel was removed from the river during the 1950s.  Revitalising Redesdale’s work will reintroduce about 1400 tonnes of boulder and cobble sized stone to the river bed to create the Ford and associated features.  The aim is to reinvigorate the river flow in this over-deepened part of the channel. This will provide healthier habitat for fish, river flies and our iconic Rede species, the endangered freshwater pearl mussel.

The contractor team, led by Groundwork North East & Cumbria, have developed the project with strong support from local landowners.  The project has been made possible with funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council, through an active partnership led by Natural England and Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

This work will restore the Rede along one of the most degraded stretches where there are not enough gravels upstream to sustain the natural riverbed.  As well as improving access for people across the river, this action will benefit river ecology beyond the 300m restored length.  The Smoutel Ford project will be completed in October 2019 with further associated work planned for 2020.  Additional riverside projects are taking place across the catchment as part of Revitalising Redesdale Programme 2018-2023. Together they aim to protect and enhance the area’s landscape for wildlife and people.

Partners visit the location of proposed river restoration works, 2018

For more details please contact Nick Lightfoot, Programme Officer  Tel: 02080261194, or visit our website to find out more about Revitalising Redesdale, volunteering opportunities and events.

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