Cumbria

Swindale Beck restored bends benefit breeding fish

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Media captionSwindale Beck: How the work was done

The restoration of natural bends to a river in Cumbria after 200 years has spawned benefits for breeding fish.

Swindale Beck, near Haweswater, was straightened to clear land for grazing, but the resultant faster flows washed gravel away, making it less easy for salmon and trout to spawn.

During summer a stretch was filled in and replaced with a meandering course.

In December, 16 salmon were spotted, along with five redds - disturbed gravel where eggs had been laid.

The bend restoration project, involving United Utilities, the RSPB, Natural England and the Environment Agency, was also aimed at alleviate flooding by slowing the flow of water through the valley.

Image copyright West Cumbria Rivers Trust
Image caption Atlantic salmon migrate to Swindale Beck from the sea via the Solway Firth and the River Eden

Lee Schofield, RSPB site manager at Haweswater, said: "Habitat restoration is often a slow process and we normally don't see the benefits of our work for years and sometimes even decades.

"It's really uplifting and inspiring to work on a project where we get the chance to experience success so soon after we've finished."

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