Working with the River Ribble
Over many years the course and character of the River Ribble has been altered for flood defence, land drainage, agricultural improvement, water supply and navigation. Modifications like this can have a detrimental effect on how the river flows, the quality of its water and the habitats and wildlife it supports.
Long Preston Floodplain Project Trail
Download our map which shows two walks in the area and the locations of the 6 Long Preston interpretations boards.
The Environment Agency and Natural England have developed a plan for 7km of the Ribble between Settle and Long Preston. The site is called the River Ribble (Long Preston Deeps) SSSI and is presently classified as a 'heavily modified' water body in 'moderate' status. The remedial actions in this plan aim to enhance the river's natural processes, which will also improve local habitats for wildlife and help the landscape adapt to the demands of our changing climate.
The actions will also improve the Ribble’s water quality, helping to achieve the targets legally required by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) and helping to restore Long Preston Deeps SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).
High water flows on the Ribble in early 2011 punched a hole through a flood bank at Long Preston Deeps. This incident provided a rare opportunity to put in place a sustainable restoration solution for this 600 metre section of the river and its floodplain.
By working with the Project Officer at the Long Preston Floodplain Project (LPWGP), Environment Agency, Natural England and the local farmers, the flood bank has now been set further back from the main channel, reinstating more natural flows, allowing the river to take a more natural course and also reconnecting the river with its floodplain. River and floodplain features have been rejuvenated and enhanced further by wet woodland planting, improving habitat variety along the river. At the same time we made the most of a unique opportunity and before it was demolished engaged archaeologists to record the original flood bank, which is over 160 years old.
This initial small section of the 7km of the River Ribble through the Long Preston Deeps area has acted as a demonstration site to show other landowners and groups what can be achieved by working with, rather than against, the river. This led in 2012 to a Phase 2 Project.