Bury St Edmunds club wins conservation award

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A Bury St Edmunds club has been recognised for its achievements in restoring part of the River Lark.

The Wild Trout Trust Conservation Awards for ‘medium-scale habitat enhancement scheme’ has been awarded to the Bury Trout Club which has ensured the ‘transformation of a straight, dredged channel into a sinuous, lively river bustling with wildlife’.

Ian Hawkins, the club’s honorary fishery officer, said: “We hope this award will bring more visitors to the {West Stow} Country Park and that we might inspire and assist others along the Lark to improve their section of the river, particularly with the development of 1,250 new houses being built in Rushbrooke Lane, which is a fantastic opportunity for the developers to restore and protect the unmolested head-waters of the River Lark.”

The club, spearheaded by Glenn Smithson, decided about nine years ago that it was time to improve the Lark, reducing its width and thereby increasing its flow, oxygenating the water and clearing it of built-up silt.

It introduced brash bundle deflectors in 2011, undertook major restoration work in 2013 and, in 2014, planted some 2,500 flowering water marginals and installed a barn owl box.

As well as promoting a wild and self-sustaining population of wild brown trout, the project has benefited all wildlife including damselflies, ground-nesting birds, owls and water voles.

It was recognised for ‘battling against widely-held views that what they were attempting (and have now achieved) was impossible’.