Tag Archives: Staxton

Hertford gets the Wild Trout Trust treatment

John Shannon from the East Yorkshire Rivers Trust inspecting the Hertford Cut drainage channel before work begins.

Wild Trout TrustJohn Shannon from the East Yorkshire Rivers Trust inspecting the Hertford Cut channel before work begins.

A demonstration day on the Hertford Cut, organised for the Environment Agency and Vale of Pickering Drainage Board was deemed a success as two hundred metres of the drainage channel received the Wild Trout Trust treatment. (Read more about the Wild Trout Trust’s recent work on Pickering Beck here) The work carried out in May was made possible in no small part thanks to the willing help of Scarborough Conservation Volunteers who donned chest waders and took up brash bundles to learn about low-tech restoration techniques. They were able to install a decent trial stretch of in-channel features in The Hertford to show how simple intervention using local materials such as birch brash and ash stakes can enhance habitats for fish such as brown trout and grayling.

The principle is to create a two stage channel where vertical scouring and speeded flow in the centre make up for the reduction in width of the low flow channel. The narrower channel is better at regulating itself and should not be as prone to silting up. The ecology of the river benefits too from invertebrates to fish from the variety in the channel shape and flow regime.

The demonstration day was organised by The Wild Trout Trust in collaboration with East Yorkshire Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency on 22nd May. Thanks are also due to the landowner at Manor Farm Staxton, Mr Hill for accommodating the access and parking on the farm and of course to the Vale of Pickering IDB, who own and control the Hertford banks and are responsible for the maintenance of the drainage cut.

Volunteers constructing paired deflectors from brash bundles.

Volunteers constructed paired deflectors from brash bundles.The brash features are staked and wired firmly allowing flow over the top when levels rise, but in normal flows focus energy in the centre of channel to prevent silt and form some pools for fish.

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Working on a paired deflector

The features installed include 5 or so ‘paired current deflectors’ – looking like upstream pointing V’s with a narrow gap in centre. They create pinch points and deflect current inwards to the centre.

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Bundles after wiring down

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Just below the bridge is an offset brash feature, which both narrows the over-wide low-flow channel and creates sinuosity.

 Also there is a version of a ‘tree-kicker’, using felled or pleached limbs or bankside trees to create the same effect of pinching the channel.

Also there is a version of a ‘tree-kicker’, using felled or pleached limbs or bankside trees to create the same effect of pinching the channel.

Invited staff from the EA and IDB learn about the demo features and how the trail will work

Invited staff from the EA and IDB learn about the demo features and how the trial stretch may be monitored.

Three new gaugeboards were put in by the rivers trust, in order that one may monitor the impact over that stretch. All three boards were zero-ed to water level on the first day, so relative differences upstream and downstream of the demo stretch would be apparent. The EA will collate readings of the three measuring boards, collected at different flow states as the channel adjusts to the new features. More pictures of the event are on the Carrs Wetland Project facebook page.


An excellent starting point to find out more about river restoration is the Wild Trout Trust’s own website, and their resource library on river habitat improvement for fish such as trout


Fencing clever

Breeding waders HLS

Fencing at Staxton Carr for stewardship grassland

Regular visitors to Staxton Carr may have noticed some new fencing appear this spring on fields off Ings Lane and Staxton Carr Lane. The fencing is part of the scheduled HLS capital works to help manage some of these pastures for breeding waders, like Lapwing and Curlew, or possibly Snipe.

There are some nice options for circular walks in this area, using the public footpaths and, by common practice the river bank of the Hertford Cut. These circuits are perhaps best-known to residents of Staxton village who take regular walks with canine friends. Three lanes run parallel northwards to the Hertford River (the third, Willerby Carr Lane, becomes a rough farm track after the last house but is a public bridleway.)

A glance at the map shows that all three lanes are linked by Public Rights of Way. The fencing that has been added this year does two things. Firstly it creates grazing compartments enabling the farmer to better control the stocking levels (or shut them for a late summer hay crop). Secondly it separates the sensitive fields from the public rights of way in order to reduce disturbance from walkers or dogs straying ‘off piste’ among the ground nesting birds (or cattle, or both).

A wader scrape at Staxton Carr in one of the fenced pastures

A wader scrape at Staxton Carr in one of the fenced pastures

When the HLS scheme started here the relevant fields had some wader scrapes excavated – hollows for seasonal wet patches to linger in the springtime. Ground-nesting waders recorded in the fields in recent years include Lapwing Oystercatcher and Curlew. Over-wintering Snipe may stay on to nest among the boggy rushes, if undisturbed and the sward develops to their liking. Other ground-nesters here are Skylark, Meadow Pipit and that diminutive game bird the Quail.

Next time you enjoy exploring this part of The Carrs look for the scrapes and the rushy patches and remember why these fields are sensitive, especially at nesting time. We need the help of all footpath-users, whether two – or four-legged to keep these fields undisturbed – the wildlife value may not be obvious to the casual observer, but those of us in the know will keep a look-out and may even spot some chicks, if we are lucky.

Heritage Day Success!

Harriet Linfoot from The Wildlife Trust interviews man about the old documents he brought

Last week we held our first Heritage Roadshow event at Staxton for communities around The Scarborough Carrs. It was extremely successful with over 200 people passing through with their wares and tales of old. Among the finds brought in were a Quernstone (for grinding corn by hand), musket balls, a piece of 19th C horseshoe pot (land drainage pipe), a drawerful of prehistoric flints and bone and an old shop ledger with news paper clippings from the time. People also got the chance to learn more about their area as they talked to the North East Yorkshire Geology Trust, Scarborough Field Naturalists, Scarborough Archaeological and History Society and many other groups which attended. Lots of tea and cake was happily consumed whilst people filled in The Carrs consultation survey (which is still available to complete here). We gained a lot of information about the area which we are still processing now…thank you to everyone that came along and made it such an interesting and enjoyable event!