On the 25th October, Tweed Forum and Scottish land & Estates hosted a walk & talk event showcasing the work that has been completed on the Eddleston Water Project. The main aims of the project were to:
- Reduce flood risk for the communities of Eddleston and Peebles by restoring the original features of the catchment
- Improve the river habitat for wildlife and fisheries
- Work with the community and landowners to maximise the benefits of such work and maintaining the profitability of local farms
Hugh Chalmers of Tweed Forum gave a short presentation at Cringletie Hotel outlining the history of the site and explaining how the once originally meandering water course had been straightened between about 1770 and 1815 in a context of agricultural prosperity and near-limitless optimism that ‘improvements’ would continue. The Eddleston Project was largely about re-establishing the natural course of the river (re meandering) along with many other conservation measures.
We walked along a good section of the watercourse stopping to discuss green banking, the gravel bed, creating islands for bird nesting and wildlife to flourish, salmon/fish pools etc. In all, 1.8km of the river has been re meandered in a bid to “Slow the Flow”, as the river length has been increased, slope and speed of flow reduced, new habitats created, more space made for flood waters and landscape improvement. The areas where the work was completed some time ago are already thriving with wildlife species in their newly created habitat.
Moving up to the headland in the afternoon, we saw 16Ha of all native woodland planting at Cowieslinn, all surrounded by Deer fencing to protect the trees. Also we stopped off at Shiplaw to see the flow restrictors built in the tributaries. These mimic fallen trees which slow the flow of water further. Each flow restrictor slows the flow of water by approx. 70 minutes of them and 56 have been installed upstream from Eddleston Water which will have a significant impact on the water’s ability to flash flood in future.
13 leaky ponds have also been created (5000 m2) which will store additional water during intense rainfall events.
As a results of the work completed, the Waterbody Status under the Water Framework Directive has gone from “Bad” to “Poor” to “Moderate” and work is still ongoing.
Our thanks go to Hugh Chalmers, Emily Iles and Alistair of Tweed Forum who put on a really informative, engaging and enjoyable visit for us. Follow them on Twitter @Tweed_Forum