Sparkling Streams

River running through lush green countryside

sparkling streams logoThrough The Sparkling Streams Project, we’re working to improve the River Kennet and its tributaries, helping to increase wildlife and reconnect people with nature. 

We’re delighted to have been awarded more than £400,000 from the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund and to be working with our partners The Rivers Trust for the Kennet Catchment (ARK), North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and  Southern Streams Farmer Group to achieve our goals.

Sparkling Streams Project Overview

Rainbow trout in Hungerford Town and Manor watersChalk streams are globally rare and the River Kennet, running through the North Wessex downs AONB, is one of England’s premier chalk streams. But it’s far from being in good condition. For centuries the Kennet has been affected by human activity, which has degraded the river and water quality, in turn impacting the natural wildlife. This project will help to reverse some of these negative effects.

Helping nature to heal itself

Using nature-based solutions, our aim is to give nature a helping hand to speed up the natural regeneration process. For example, by planting hedges and creating leaky dams and sediment ponds, we can slow the passing water and trap silt, which will naturally clean the water as it goes to the rivers.

How does this help?

  • Cleaner water and slower flows create ideal conditions for a variety of wildlife, from fish and water invertebrates to dragonflies and birds.
  • Hedges provide habitat, food and absorb carbon, helping to reduce the effects of climate change.
  • Cleaner gravels on the riverbed will improve spawning grounds for chalk stream fish such as brown trout, grayling and lamprey.
  • Water voles will be better able to find food, shelter and breed with the creation of corridors of healthy rivers and lush wetland plants.
  • Allowing water back onto Undy’s Meadow will provide a wide range of tiny species, such as the Desmoulin’s whorl snail, with the ideal conditions to thrive.

Like to get involved?

We’d love your help and will share details of any conservation events you can take part in, for instance the big pond clearance – please keep checking here and on social media.

Here’s a short film about the project, produced with the help of our partners.

Our project partners

•  Town and Manor of Hungerford
•  North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
•  The Rivers Trust for the Kennet Catchment (ARK)
•  Southern Streams Farmer Group

Key Dates

December 2020:  Funding awarded
January – March 2021:  Project set-up and recruitment
April – December 2021:  Conservation and restoration activities undertaken
January – March 2022:  Evaluation and reporting

Funding

This project is funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Green Recovery challenge Fund logo

Further queries

If you would like further information about the project, please contact Corinna Woodall at North Wessex Downs AONB