Woodhouse Washlands is a much-needed piece of wildness surrounded by industry and housing and well loved by local people. It is freely open to visitors and is next to the Trans Pennine Trail.
Although the Rother, once one of the most polluted rivers in Britain, is now clean, one stretch of the river was artificially straightened and over-widened in the 1950s to create a flood alleviation scheme. This resulted in poor habitat diversity and a lack of connectivity to the adjacent floodplain. Localised bank erosion due to the steepness of the banks, sluggish river flow in the straightened sections, elevated sediment levels and a lack of riparian vegetation cover has all adversely affected the biodiversity.
Thanks to funding of £34,928 from Biffa Award, Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust was able to improve the river habitats by installing berm features to reduce river channel width and increase its diversity, reprofile the bank to enhance floodplain habitat and construct bunds on the floodplain to create ephemeral ponds across a 1.75km stretch of the river.
The work will enhance priority species populations including great crested newt, grass snake and brown trout, enhance fish populations and improve the river habitats. It will also benefit the physical and ecological conditions in the river by improving in-channel and riparian habitat features.
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