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.
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
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.