Second phase begins to transform a neglected Clitheroe reservoir into a nature reserve

An ambitious scheme to turn a reservoir into a valuable habitat for wildlife with a new, accessible public area at Primrose Lodge - a well-known site in the heart of Clitheroe - is continuing to progress.

Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 9:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 9:32 am
Woodland work continues at the lodge

The second phase of work began in March and despite being temporarily paused due to the COVID-19 lockdown, work has now recommenced.

Following an extensive assessment of guidance from both the Government and Construction Leadership Council, Ribble Rivers Trust reviewed and amended working practices with

contractors to ensure the safety of all those working on the site, local residents, and members of the public. Woodland management work has already been carried out, including coppicing, and in some cases the removal of trees. This is due to the prevalence of Ash dieback, a disease caused by a fungus which grows inside the tree and is sadly predicted to kill up to 95% of ash trees across the UK. The infected ash trees at Primrose Lodge posed a significant risk both to the road, and to users of the site. However, RRT will be planting two trees for every one tree felled. Work has already now began on the site’s footpath.

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RRT are hopeful that the site will open as planned in the autumn of this year, benefiting the town, improving water quality, and contribute to reducing downstream flood risk.

RRT director, Jack Spees, said: “The site is really beginning to take shape and although it is really exciting to see the project moving forward, safety is key for our contractors and local communities so we have worked hard to ensure that we are working fully in line with the governments guidance. We are really looking forward to opening the site for local communities to use and enjoy."

At the end of this month, the Trust will be planting wetland plants and wet grassland mixes on the works completed last year, and re-commencing work on the fish pass which will help to boost fish populations. In turn this will encourage otters, kingfishers and other river species, which are commonly found below the lodge, yet absent or in very low numbers upstream. As the UK’s lockdown restrictions are lifted, the Trust hopes to organise volunteer days to help tackle invasive non-native species such as Himalayan Balsam, and to arrange litter picks to remove the significant amounts of litter that came into the site from upstream during the winter’s flood.