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Lower Trent and Erewash

Stretching from the Humber Estuary to the outskirts of Derby, the Lower Trent and Erewash catchment area forms a vital gateway into the Trent catchment.

While the Trent’s confluence into the Humber Estuary marks the end of the Trent’s 271km journey, it is the beginning for others. For the Atlantic salmon and the critically endangered European eel, the Lower Trent is a migration route to its tributaries. The former comes to spawn, the latter to grow.

Other species travel via the Lower Trent’s blue and green corridor to reach nesting grounds. Often, these are restored gravel pits such as the SSSI-designated Attenborough Nature Reserve, or wetlands such as the Erewash Meadows. These are vital pockets of habitat and the Trent – despite being fragmented by barriers – acts as a lifeline, providing valuable wetlands and grasslands for migratory and ground-nesting birds.

Beyond its treasured green pockets, the river and its tributaries are in need of much wider recovery. Agricultural and urban land use put the catchment under pressure. In Nottingham, the Leen has been degraded and shackled over the last century as it rushes over its concrete bed for most of its journey.

The Erewash served a similar industrial purpose as a large tributary of the Trent. Rising in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, it meanders through agricultural land until it reaches industrial towns, rich in heritage. Proud engineering feats, such as the Erewash Canal and Bennerley viaduct, go hand in hand with the area’s long mining history, but this also led to polluting collieries active on the banks of the Erewash. Despite recent improvements, their impact still weighs on the river’s road to recovery – but it’s a recovery that is already under way.

This catchment is marked by ambition, with many projects already established. At Trent Rivers Trust, we are working with partners on our joint vision for a river free from barriers, with improved habitats for protected species. We want to see a catchment where landowners take stewardship of their local river and we help communities connect to a thriving river. In this catchment, we are welcoming the Environment Agency’s vision at Colwick fish pass – a huge and ambitious engineering project, destined to become the country’s largest passage for fish migration and creating a significant boost for habitat connectivity. Ambition for the Lower Trent and Erewash does not stop there: as part of the wider partnership, we are working on a masterplan that aims to ensure that the Lower Trent and Erewash – its communities and its wildlife – will thrive for years to come.

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Lower Trent and Erewash Catchment Partnership

The Trent Rivers Trust hosts The Lower Trent & Erewash Catchment Partnership. Our vision – and that of the partners we work with – is for “a Lower Trent & Erewash catchment with a healthy, functioning water environment including rivers, lakes and groundwater”. In short, we want to see a healthy catchment for people and nature.

  • View the catchment overview
  • View the catchment management plan
  • See our research into habitat creation opportunities
  • More information on the challenges, priorities and plans for the Lower Trent and Erewash Catchment is available on the Environment Agency website.
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