Matt Carroll, our project officer has been working on Spannel Beck, to the South of Cartmel Fell. Spannel Beck is a tributary of the River Winster in South Cumbria. The project incorporated watercourse fencing, formalised hard standing crossing points and alternative livestock drinking solutions, that will improve over 800 metres of aquatic habitat.
The beck suffered from excessive livestock poaching and sedimentation. Fencing has meant that the livestock will be excluded from the watercourse and will no longer be able to poach the banks of the river. This will reduce the amount of organic material and sediment entering the beck, improving habitat for fish, plants and invertebrates.
Hard standing crossing points and feeding areas will also reduce the negative effects of sedimentation and alternative drinking solutions, such as solar troughs, will remove the need for livestock to enter the beck to drink.
This works also make land management easier for the farmer. The works will also allow the beck to function more naturally, forming a faster and deeper channel to maintain gravel transport and maximise habitat improvement. This will lead to reduced channel maintenance by the landowner.
The introduction of riparian buffer strips and planting hedgerows will slow the flow of water as well as capturing debris during high flows, reducing the impact on the land. Over 180 plants have now been planted along 50 metres of river bank to form a new hedgerow, with varieties such as; quickthorn, hazel and crabapple being planted.