Rivers link history and the environment

Burnley’s Urban Rivers Enhancement Scheme scheme has been selected from over 750 entries as a finalist for the “Best

By Roger Frost
Sunday, 20th July 2014, 7:24 am

Environmental Project” in the 2014 National Lottery Awards which try to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.

The awards are now in their 11th year and this time all readers of the Burnley Express are encouraged to be involved.

We recommend you search the projects out. They are all located in the central area of Burnley and are all associated with our two local rivers, the Brun and the Calder.

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Today, three of the projects have been selected. Visit the sites described in the text and see what has been achieved.

The URES scheme has made, and is still making, a considerable difference in the Burnley area. Although much of the work carried out has been in and around the town centre sites across the borough have been identified for improvement.

Two of them stand out. The first of these is at Cockden Bridge on the road between Haggate and Worsthorne. There is space to park a car close to the bridge and, if you do so, you can get out and examine the work carried out below the bridge.

This place has been a favourite place for children for years, as it is has been quite easy to dam the river here to made a small swimming pool. Nearby some old blackthorn bushes produce lots of large sloes which can be picked most autumns and made into sloe gin.

However, the site has been a barrier to fish getting to the upper reaches of the stream, which, above the bridge, is known as Cockden Water.

The work recently carried out makes it much easier for the fish to get up the small waterfall at this point and, now, Thursden Water is again home to brown trout.

Another of the schemes is close to Thompson Park where work on the Brun has resulted in great improvements for birds, fish and insect life.

You can see what has been done if you find the path which was formerly the track of the mineral railway which linked Bank Hall Colliery to the main railway line at Bank Top.

Near Sandholme Aqueduct you will see the flow of the river has been changed and several other schemes have been put in place to allow fish to get higher up stream.

It might appear, at first sight, these schemes, and others, carried out by URES are only environmental. That is not the case as the work has been organised in a number of historic sites. The most significant is, perhaps, the site of Burnley Weir which is featured among today’s images.

This site has a history which goes, we know, back to about 1290. Other sites might not be traceable to that year but each has its own history and the project has been useful in making the vital connections between heritage and environment that, for years, were forgotten in Burnley.

We ask you to support the Burnley schemes by searching the web for National Lottery Awards. Select Environment Award and vote for Urban River Enhancement Scheme.

Or, you can copy the following web address into your browser to link straight to Vote for Burnley


Thanks for voting for us. Those responsible for the URES scheme really do want to do well in the awards. They have worked hard as have members of the public and representatives from lots of local bodies including Burnley Council.

Lots of children have been involved. It really has been a successful project and it deserves your support.