The trials and tribulations of managing land for wildlife, tipping my toes into sheep ownership and sometimes telling the stories of the ecology work we do away from Ellers Meadow. Ellers Meadow is just over 5 acres but we have grand plans for this riverside field in South Cumbria. We hope by sharing what we are doing we may inspire others to make space for nature and be the future custodians of our countryside.
We called in to the Heron Corn Mill this week and I found myself being in
awe at seeing the migrating Atlantic salmon and Sea trout jumping up the fish
pass to get to the spawning grounds at Ellers Meadow and beyond on the River Bela
Heron Corn Mill Fish Pass
For hundreds of years fish were unable to reach spawning ground further up
the River Bela, but then in 1990 a fish pass was put in by the Environment
Agency. By looking down on the fish pass from the viewing area it seems a very
simple construction, however it is made up of a series of 12 steps with pools
to allow the fish to have a rest areas before they take the next leap. This engineering
feat made a significant conservation gain overnight and the Bela is now recognised
locally as being a very important river for spawning Atlantic Salmon and Sea
Although migrating fish can now move up the stream to their spawning ground there
are still parts of the River Bela that need better habitat management to
maintain and increase fish populations. The river fencing work we did last
November at Ellers Meadow with a more extensive livestock system means another
part of the jigsaw is now getting the right management. Like the fish pass the
answer to better river management is simple, fence the riverbanks to cut agricultural
pollutions levels and get the right land management adjacent to our rivers. Although
the river has only been fenced a year, the river banks at Ellers are already
look more stable and agricultural pollution and riverbed disturbance has ceased.
Although the fish pass happen 25 years ago, it is only now that the habitat management
at Ellers has changed for the better!
Note: If you would like help managing your river contact your local Rivers
Trust. We worked closely with South Cumbria Rivers Trust and Milnthorpe Anglers
Associations to fence off our river.