Staffordshire Trent Valley

Staffordshire’s moorlands are the birthplace of the Trent

In the Staffordshire moorlands, near the popular Roaches, the Trent rises amongst peat and sphagnum. Meandering through a rich tapestry of life, provided by the moors, it then flows through Stoke-on-Trent, past Cannock Chase, across the lowlands of East Staffordshire, before it reaches its confluence with the Dove downstream of Burton-upon-Trent. 

‘A healthy catchment starts with its headwaters’, this credo rings true for the Staffordshire Moors, where the Trent’s 271 km long journey begins. In the Staffordshire Trent Valley, large stretches of river and habitat remain intact, or simply need a helping hand in their recovery. Former open cast mines have made a spectacular recovery into attractive wetlands. Beyond the reserves, ancient woodlands, wetlands and peat are valuable habitats that support the wider health of the catchment. 

Other parts of the river system have been modified more significantly. As the Trent meets Stoke-on-Trent soon after its moorland descent, urban and industrial pressures, as well as, modifications shape the river and affect its water quality. As it then flows through a predominantly agricultural landscape, irrigation, run-off and point-source pollution add an overwhelming amount of nutrients and pollutants to the Trent.

Beyond the main river, the Rivers Sow, Penk and Blithe mainly flow through Staffordshire’s rural landscape, briefly crossing Stafford on their journeys. At Blithfield Reservoir, the Blithe is impounded to supply water to the public in Staffordshire. While water supply is vital, the river coming to a grinding halt has a far-reaching impact on habitat connectivity and the flow of the river.

Overall, this catchment is one with potential. The catchment’s moorlands, wetlands, potential for reconnected floodplains, improved farming practice and Sustainable Drainage Schemes in cities play an important part in boosting the resilience of the Trent and its tributaries.

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