New footbridges open up the river for walkers and fish

Simon Watts
May 13, 2021

Repairing flood damage

The Aire Rivers Trust is allowing people to reach a hidden part of the River Aire once again. The Trust has been hard at work replacing two footbridges washed away in the Boxing Day flood of 2015 in Hirst Woods at the Seven Arches Aqueduct in Bingley.

After obtaining funding from habitat improvements in the goit (the former mill race), Saltaire Angling Club and the Wild Trout Trust asked local charity the Aire Rivers Trust for help. Without the bridges, local walkers and dog walkers had found themselves wading through the shallow water to reach a popular island and viewpoint. The improvised stepping stones that some had created had slowed the slow and led to the goit silting up and no longer offering a suitable habitat for fish. With funding from the Developing the Natural Aire project, the Aire Rivers Trust was able to construct two new footbridges to create a circular walk along the riverbank and stop walkers walking through the water.

Two fish leap in a graphic that divides text

A win for fish and walkers

This work has been vital in the creation of a high-quality spawning habitat for fish.

“‘This is a fantastic example of partnership working. With people able to access the site via bridges rather than inadvertently blocking the old mill goit by ‘Heath Robinson’ steppingstones, we hope to improve flow through the channel and encourage fish to use the backwater as a nursery area. We will be improving the habitat to complement the bridge scheme, working with volunteers from Saltaire Angling Club and with funding from the Yorkshire Water Biodiversity Enhancement Programme.”

Prof Jonathan Grey of the Wild Trout Trust
Two fish leap in a graphic that divides text

Building young people's skills

The Aire Rivers Trust worked with a local contractor and the Bradford  Council’s Countryside Service Team to build the bridge. For the Aire Rivers Trust’s new apprentice, Ryan Harrison,  this was a fantastic opportunity to work alongside craftsmen from other organisations.

“As an Apprentice I want to learn the how to look after the countryside, to give me the skills to do a  great job and help the planet in the future.”

Ryan Harrison, our new apprentice.
Ryan Harrison and Hannah Gordon help build the bridge at Seven Arches
Our young trainees, Ryan Harrison and Hannah Gordon
People stood on a bridge
The many partners who made this happen: Richard Perham, Bradford MDC Countryside Service; Nick Milsom, Aire Rivers Trust; Pauline Bradley-Sharp BEM, Hirst Wood Regeneration Group; Mike Parker, Saltaire Angling Association; Ryan Harrison, Aire Rivers Trust; and Cllr Kevin Warnes together with Jonny Grey, The Wild Trout Trust (not pictured)
Two fish leap in a graphic that divides text

© Copyright Aire Rivers Trust 2020
The Aire Rivers Trust is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales No: 07464227 and a Registered Charity No: 1145609
Registered Office at: 38 Morton Lane, East Morton, Keighley BD20 5RS
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