The river By Brook forms the heart of many communities in North Wiltshire as it carves its way through beautiful countryside and villages all the way from Burton down to Bathford. In terms of water quality and wildlife, the river is currently classed as being in ‘moderate’ condition by the Environment Agency, not achieving ‘good’ status for reasons including presence of invasive species, high phosphate levels and barriers to fish passage up the river.

With so many people involved with the river, from farmers and landowners to angling clubs and charities, a lot of work is already being carried out and there is a lot of willingness to work to protect the river and its local environment into the future.

Having so many different parties involved is fantastic but it does mean there is a need for everyone to work together. By its very nature, a river is one connected system and it’s important to understand what is happening up and downstream when planning work at a particular site. This is why we have launched PEBBLE, a project working to Protect and Enhance the By Brook and its Local Environment. We are working with everyone involved with the river to create one unified plan. Rather than a lengthy report, we hope the plan will simply signpost to all existing reports and information available for the river, and include a portfolio of project ideas and management techniques to provide practical solutions that benefit not only the river, but also the wildlife, farmers and communities along it into the future.

We need to build a picture of management issues and threats facing the river along with priorities for its protection. If you’re involved with the By Brook we’d like to hear from you!

  • Do you work on or alongside the river?
  • Are you a landowner or farmer along the river?
  • Are you involved in any voluntary organisation that works on conservation in the By Brook valley?

Balsam Bashing - Wiltshire Wildlife Trust also has a dedicated team of volunteers who have been working to remove Himalayan balsam from the river for the last 10 years. We are going to be running balsam-bashing days every Wednesday in July and August this summer and are looking for volunteers. If you are interested in helping out, get in touch and I will send you more details.

To get in touch or find out more about the project please contact Alice Baker at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust at [email protected] or call 01380 736 066.

See you on the river!

The PEBBLE project is kindly funded by the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership
The Himalayan balsam control is also kindly funded by TK Maxx & Homesense Environmental Clean-up grant.