Volunteers from the Environment Agency and Grantham Angling Association have been improving stretches of the Upper River Witham in a bid to encourage brown trout to thrive.

The team of workers spent a series of weekends installing brushwood bundles and willow and hazel faggots to the sides of the river at Great Ponton and Syston, using all natural materials sourced from the site. The faggots help to stabilize the eroded embankments by providing a base – similar to tree roots – for soil to adhere to, while the fissures created provide a refuge for invertebrates such as crayfish and brown trout fry.

As well as local and Environment Agency volunteers, licensed crayfish surveyors from the Trout Trust were also present to ensure that no protected crayfish were affected during the work, and Natural England provided advice on what materials to use to naturally enhance the site. The Environment Agency also contributed £1000 towards the cost of the enhancement works.

Reuben Page, fisheries technical officer with the Environment Agency said: ‘Brown trout are locally rare and an important species for biodiversity as well as for the continued enjoyment of anglers as a sport fish.

‘We were delighted to be able to provide our support to this project which complements a suite of similar enhancements already implemented on the Upper Witham.’