CLIENT: Environment Agency
Background & Objectives:
Revitalising Redesdale is making great progress on the catchment-wide effort to improve the River Rede for wildlife and people. Enthusiastic farmers and land managers are helping the partners to re-establish natural river processes, capture sediment, create wetlands, plant trees and manage grazing. They are also rebuilding the historic bridleway at Smoutel Ford, allowing walkers and riders to enjoy trails between Monkridge Hill and Otterburn for the first time in decades.
The River Rede, a major tributary of the Tyne, is home to salmon, trout and otter and holds one of the two last populations of Freshwater Pearl Mussels in North East England. These mussels are rare and declining as the result of many changes to the river over the past century. Action was needed to improve the health of the river and save the protected mussels. A proactive partnership of Northumbrian organisations pooled their energy and resources to set up a catchment-wide initiative funded by partners and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Revitalising Redesdale Landscape Partnership launched in 2018 with the River Improvement Project at the heart of the programme.
Specific habitat restoration features include:
- Sediment management
- Channel improvements
- Bankside features restoration
- Buffer strip created
- BAP habitat restored
- Tree planting
- Agricultural advice for businesses
All of these have contributed to the reduction of erosion pressures, sediment input, improved ecology and the major improvement to Freshwater Pearl Mussel habitat.
Additional benefit of the project was the provision of a new ford and stepping stones to replace the historic Smoutel Ford, which was dredged out in the 1950s as part of a national programme to increase agricultural productivity.