What is the Five Valleys Trust?
The Five Valleys Trust was formed in 1996. It is a volunteer conservation organisation working closely with the ATAA, the Environment Agency, the Local Authority, local people and landowners to look after the rivers and brooks fished by the ATAA, with the aim of getting the best out of the wider habitat and focusing on the maintenance of a population of wild breeding trout as an indicator of the health of the habitat.
In the past the Trust has obtained funding from the EA and other donors which has been used to erect fencing along both banks of the Wellow Brook above Hinton Road Bridge, and to carry out work on large trees. More recently the ability of the EA to provide funding has been severely curtailed; however, over the same time period, interest amongst ATAA members in the approach to creation of a ‘wild’ trout fishery has greatly increased and the amount of ATAA water given over to this has also increased.
Currently (Spring 2016) the whole of the Wellow Brook above Poorfield Wood and the whole of the Cam Brook are treated as wild trout fisheries, using ‘catch and release’ to ensure a good head of fish remains in the system. The evidence available suggests that this approach is paying dividends with a large and healthy population of wild fish in all year groups, spread throughout the whole of the ATAA’s waters.
The bank and in-river work carried out by the ATAA Sunday and Wednesday teams has not only sustained but improved the quality and diversity of the habitat, and has been and continues to be of pivotal value and importance in carrying forward the original aims of the Trust.
The Secretary of the FVT is Fred Scourse, who can be contacted on 07801 562448 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quote from the Environment Agency
“Less stocking, more natural please”
That was what the Five Valleys Trust club members wanted for their fishery – and improving access for brown trout along the Wellow Brook has helped to achieve it.
Five Valleys joined forces with two other local clubs on the habitat improvement project – the Avon and Tributaries Angling Association and the Wellow Flyfishers.
All three clubs were keen to develop a ‘wild trout’ style fishery, which wasn’t reliant on artificial stocking.
“The banks of the brook had previously been trampled by livestock, and the waters had a very uniform flow with few features,” explains Andy Don Fisheries Technical Officer. “This meant the fishery had to be stocked artificially. So we have invested in improving habitat in 600 metres of river, specifically the Wellow Brook between the village of Wellow and the Hinton road bridge.”
The project involved added 1,200 metres of exclusion fencing, as well as in-stream groynes to act as flow deflectors and create a more natural pool and riffle sequence.
The project is the third phase of a targeted scheme to improve brown trout fishing along the Wellow Brook.
“By improving the habitat here, we have been able to increase natural spawning and reduce the need for stocking,” adds Andy.
“This should mean more challenging fishing for the members of all three clubs, which we hope will encourage more anglers to use this stretch of water.”
It is also hoped the improvements will create enhanced biodiversity in the brook, which non-anglers can also enjoy from the adjacent public footpath.