The Town and Manor of Hungerford is helping to spread the word about a major environmental initiative to restore globally rare chalk streams, including the River Kennet catchment, by improving biodiversity and water quality.
The charity is a member of the Southern Streams Farmers Group, which has produced new signs to educate and inform the public about the crucial partnership work that has been carried out through the Sparkling Streams Project.
The signs share the successes of the last two years of the scheme, which has helped to restore degraded tributaries on the River Kennet Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The Town and Manor Constable, Julie Lloyd, said that volunteers from Hungerford had worked extremely hard as part of the project and had a key role in enhancing a section of river north of Eddington Bridge.
The volunteers from St Lawrence’s Church replanted approximately 800 sedge plants in the area, which had been carefully removed and saved prior to groundworks getting underway; as part of the Sparkling Streams project.
Julie is proud that their commitment and dedication to what is such an important initiative in the area is now being rewarded.
Tackling water run-off is key to reducing pollution and restoring these wonderfully unique stretches of chalk streams, to their former glory, for everyone to enjoy,
We take great pride in being involved with such an important environmental project, and give thanks, particularly to those volunteers from Hungerford, who have worked so diligently in their spare time to achieve such a success.
These new signs will help us to communicate to the wider public, the effort that everyone involved in the project has put in to try and keep our chalk streams clear and sparkling.
JULIE LLOYD, CONSTABLE OF THE TOWN AND MANOR OF HUNGERFORD
Sparkling Streams was initially launched in December 2020, when the government awarded a grant from its Green Recovery Challenge Fund to the scheme’s partners, Action for the River Kennet (ARK), North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Town and Manor of Hungerford, and the Southern Streams Farmers Group.
Covering some 25,000 acres of land, it focused on a catchment-based approach to improving the quality of failing river water in the Rivers Shalbourne and Dun that feed into the River Kennet. The initiative has also built on years of catchment-sensitive farming work by ARK and other major partners, including Natural England and the Environment Agency.
Twelve months of conservation and restoration activities got underway in March 2021, including removing obstacles to fish migration and creating new wetland, hedge and woodland habitats to boost biodiversity and riverine habitat.
Nature-based solutions were used, such as hedge and tree planting, to slow overland water flow. This work is designed to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and help mitigate climate change.
“It’s the partnerships that have made this project such a success story. Everyone working together towards the common goal of making these wonderfully rare streams overcome adversity and sparkle once again,” added Julie.