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.


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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.

All routes are Public Rights of Way, please respect the marked paths and follow the countryside code.


Download Project Trail

The Environment Agency and Natural England have developed a plan for 7km of the Ribble between Settle and Long Preston, which is presently classified as a ‘heavily modified’ waterboy in 'moderate' status. The remedial actions in this plan aim to enhance the rivers natural processes, which will also improve local habitats for wildlife and help the landscape to adapt to the demands of our changing climate.

The actions in the plan will also help the improvements in 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).

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.

river ribble work 2

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 is just one small section of the 7km of the River Ribble through the Long Preston Deeps area that has been improved and it is hoped that this will act as a demonstration site to show other landowners and groups what can be achieved by working with, rather than against, the river.

If you would information on this restoration project please contact Amanda Lord Knowles or Graham Walsh for more information. And if you would like to get involved with, or have the ability to lead other restoration projects why not get involved with the Ribble Life project:

Ribble Life – Improving it from source to sea

Improving the water environments of the Ribble Catchment for social and economic benefit for all.

The on-going works at Long Preston Deeps shows the improvements that can be achieved by individuals and organisations working together to improve our water environment. This is a perfect example of what Ribble Life is trying to encourage across the entire catchment.

The Ribble Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency are currently working to engage with more people and organisations to help them take action to improve the whole length of the River Ribble to help provide benefits to riverine wildlife, people and the economy.

For more information contact Ribble Rivers Trust or the Environment agency Catchment Co-ordinator Helen Dix.

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