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Volunteers on a mission with River Lark restoration project

River Restoration project at Abbey Gardens
River Restoration project at Abbey Gardens

Forty four green fingered volunteers have transformed an area of the River Lark in the Abbey Gardens.

The Bury Water Meadows Group (BWMG) and River Lark Catchment Partnership (RLCP) were on a mission on Sunday to carry out the work.

River Restoration project at Abbey Gardens
River Restoration project at Abbey Gardens

Using funding from the Environment Agency, they engaged in three litter picking operations across the water meadows and a turf laying project on the river bank by Abbot’s bridge.

There was also a river restoration project underneath the foot bridge in the Abbey Gardens.

Andrew Hinchley, chairman of the two groups, said: “It was a very successful day. With the litter picking work, the very fact we’re trying to keep it clean makes people litter less.”

Following his successful restoration of the River Lark at West Stow, Glenn Smithson, an angler and RLCP member, used a £2,500 grant from the Environment Agency to buy materials to soften the concrete side.

The litter picking team
The litter picking team

This included coir matting with marginal plants held into position by posts in the river bed. Willow faggots were put in place to create a habitat for waders and water creatures.

Gillian Macready, head of restoration projects for BWMG, said they needed to narrow the channel so the water flow increased and moved the sediment down the river.

A further work session will be necessary to carry out a similar action on the opposite bank.

They also laid wildflower turf to combat the issue of bank erosion on the Abbey Garden side.

The turf knits the soil together and provides valuable necta plants for bees.

Will Cranstoun, of Suffolk Wildlife Trust, volunteered his expertise and Simon Collin, of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, helped with the turf laying.

Gillian added: “As if this wasn’t enough for the Bury Water Meadows Group committee to be organising, three different litter pickingteams were dispatched from their base camp in the Crankles.

“For the first time BWMG organised a group for the Butts and one for Holywater Meadows.

“Ditches full of cans and litter were attacked with energy.

“Hopefully, once clean, then many people will choose not to drop their litter – that has been our experience on No Man’s Meadows.”

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