Get walking this winter

As we head into a second lockdown, most of us are yet again restricted on what we can and cannot do. But fear not, our circular walks, located across Lancashire and North Yorkshire, are just the thing to keep you healthy this winter.

Walking is a tonic for the soul

A view from Ribble Rivers Trust's latest circular walk, Park Book.

A view from our latest circular walk, Park Book.

During these difficult times we need to make sure we take care of ourselves; mentally and physically. Gentle walking is easy, free, and requires no complex training programmes. Often overlooked in favour of more vigorous sports and activities walking can help us to control our weight, build stamina, burn calories, and keep our heart and lungs healthy. According to the NHS even a 10-minute brisk walk can benefit our health.

At this time our mental wellbeing is also extremely important. Mental wellbeing relates to how we feel about ourselves; our ability to function well as an individual, feel connected to our loved ones, our ability to cope with life’s ups and downs, feeling valued, having a sense of purpose, and more.

Walking and other activities can improve our self-esteem and make us feel good about ourselves, and even short bursts of exercise are enough to boost energy levels and mood. It can also help to reduce stress and anxiety, making us feel calmer and more content.

Our last blog post covered the effects of rivers, trees, woodlands, and wildlife on our mental health. By exercising outdoors in wooded areas, parks, and near rivers it’s possible to combine both of these mood boosting activities, which at the moment could prove more valuable than ever.

Getting started

All of Ribble Rivers Trust's walks are come with a clean map, and comprehensive directions

All of our walks are come with a clean map, and comprehensive directions

Thanks to Ribble Life Together, our multiyear project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we have created a range of circular walks, and free of change guides, for you to enjoy. Each walk is between 2.2 miles to 8.5 miles (3.5km to 13.7km) long which means that there are opportunities for everyone, regardless of fitness level, location, or age group.

A total of fifteen walks will be created, with twelve already available on the Ribble Life Together website. The locations range from Stainforth in the Yorkshire Dales to Lytham and the Ribble Estuary.

The walks have been designed to take in some of the most beautiful areas of the Ribble catchment. With a focus on river features, most of the walk routes will be designed to pass our physical works such as areas where Ribble Rivers Trust have planted woodlands or carried out habitat schemes. All of the walks also feature local landmarks, and give information on the areas social, industrial & cultural heritage.

Each walk will have an accompanying digital walk guide, and interpretation panels containing further information about the area and wildlife. The digital walk guides are downloadable through our Ribble Life app, which is available on both Apple and Android, and contains additional photos, videos and audio recordings.

Other ways to get involved

At Ribble Rivers Trust we’re passionate about people enjoying their rivers. By teaching people about rivers, and by inspiring a love of nature and the outdoors, we hope to share our passion for rivers and their protection. You can help us by exploring our websites and social media pages and spreading our messages.

Our Lancashire Woodland Connect campaign is also helping to bring trees and woodlands to everyone. By planting over half a million trees in the next ten years we will not only lock up carbon, create new habitats for insects, fish, birds, and mammals, connect up existing habitats, and reduce flood risk to vulnerable communities: we will also help make Lancashire a greener, cleaner place to live for all the counties residents.

You can support our Lancashire Woodland Connect project by donating a tree for just £15.00, which you can dedicate in your name, or the name of a friend or loved one. Our supporter scheme also helps raise money for rivers and woodlands, with flexible monthly donations, you can become a supporter of the Ribble Rivers Trust and help us to improve our wonderful Ribble landscape for wildlife and people.

Cam End peat restoration to improve rivers and wildlife UPDATE: COMPLETE

This project has now been successfully completed! 

Thanks to this project life for aquatic wildlife will begin to improve with drops in the levels of diffuse pollution, water temperature, fine sediment, and flash flooding expected.

Cam End is a designated common within the Cam Fell moorland. The common is mainly made up of blanket bog and heath and covers an area of approximately 697 hectares. This area forms a significant part of Cam Beck, which is one of the two first tributaries of the River Ribble.

The area has historically been subject to a range of modifications designed to improve the land for agricultural purposes, especially during the period following the Second World War when there was a huge drive for increased food production and self-sufficiency.

Pest restoration

An example of the peat erosion at Cam End

‘Grips’ were created to drain water from wet upland  areas to facilitate crop growth, and whilst these grips often started as a spade width channel, over time many have eroded to a much larger size, with one problem area now the width of two double decker buses. Combined with over-grazing this has caused a devastating loss of both peat and vegetation, with large patches of bare peat.

This degradation is resulting in the loss of an important BAP priority habitat and the species it potentially supports. This includes golden plovers, hen harriers, rare plant species, and a range of invertebrates including butterflies, beetles, moths, and spiders.

River hydrogeomorphology is also affected, with increased colouration or peat staining, and increased amounts of dissolved carbon and fine sediment within the water. With Cam End, and Cam Beck lying at the source of the river these problems have the potential to affect the whole river from source, to mouth, to sea.

Peat restoration

One of the bunded peat grips at Cam End

Peat degradation can also increase flood risk. Peat acts like a sponge which, in periods of high rainfall, can retain excess water. This water is then released slowly into rivers, preventing flash flooding. Without the peat the water runs rapidly off the higher ground and enters the river much more quickly, overwhelming the river and potentially causing flooding.

Thanks to an improvement in land management practises over recent years grazing has been brought under control. However, the grips still need to be addressed and thanks to Ribble Life Together we’re able to carry out a huge amount of grip blocking and reprofiling, revegetating, bunding of rapid overland flow, and stock exclusion fencing.  It is hoped that this work will not only prevent further damage but  will also help the area to recover  .

At Cam End we will:

Block and reprofile up to 25,250 metres of grips

Reprofile 4,000 m of hagged peat faces

Revegetate 6.45 ha of bare peat

Bund 0.7 ha of rapid overland flow and shallow rills

Bund 0.7 ha of rapid overland flow and shallow rills

Erect 4,800 m of stock exclusion fencing with access points

Peat restoration

Work on the grips is underway on Cam End