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 pockets of habitat are vital refuges in a catchment that has been fragmented. 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 and then meandering through agricultural land until it reaches industrial towns, rich in heritage. Its long mining history, produced proud engineering feats, such as the Erewash Canal and Bennerley viaduct, but also saw polluting collieries active on its banks. Despite recent improvements, their impact still weighs on the Erewash’s road to recovery, but a recovery that is already underway.

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, improved habitats for protected species, where landowners take stewardship of their local river and we hel communities connect to a thriving river. In this catchment, we are welcoming the Environment Agency’s ambition at Colwick’s fish pass. The pass is destined to become the country’s largest passage for fish migration and creates 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 wildlife thrive.

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