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The Westcountry Rivers Trust – Wistlandpound

August 10, 2023

protecting, restoring and enhancing our rivers.

“Rivers shape our landscapes and provide the foundations for our cities, towns and countryside.

When they thrive, so do we.”

As proud supporters of The River Trust and Westcountry Rivers Trust, Turnstyle Designs made a donation to Westcountry Rivers Trust’s The Big Give Green Match Fund fundraiser as part of the trust’s Bringing Rivers to You summer campaign. This campaign is dedicated to connecting people to, and inspiring a love for, their freshwater environments whether rural or urban through a variety of community events and activities.

A few members of the Turnstyle Designs team were invited to meet Dr Laurence Couldrick, CEO of the Westcountry Rivers Trust at Wistlandpound Reservoir, Exmoor to find out first hand about this brilliant organisation and the important conservation efforts they make every single day.

ABOUT WISTLANDPOUND RESERVOIR

On a wet and drizzly day in North Devon, the team set off in their waterproofs and wellies in hunt of the nearest water source running into the reservoir.

A thriving environment for wildlife and a popular spot for many dog walkers and families, Wistlandpound is located on the edge of the Exmoor national park. 

Managed by South West Lakes Trust the reservoir was built in 1957. It holds up to 1,550 megalitres (341 million gallons)and covers an area of 40 acres,  supplying water to a large section of North Devon.  

After a short walk around the reservoir, lead by Laurence, a small stream was found and samples of river water were taken and tested. Using special equipment, the team checked the colour, temperature, for traces of mud or other matter and any harmful elements or high readings.

These sample are taken using handy kits provided by the trust to volunteers and their organisation at cost to the charity. Funding helps provide these kits which are highly important to the work and results they need.

ABOUT WISTLANDPOUND RESERVOIR

On a wet and drizzly day in North Devon, the team set off in their waterproofs and wellies in hunt of the nearest water source running into the reservoir.

A thriving environment for wildlife and a popular spot for many dog walkers and families, Wistlandpound is located on the edge of the Exmoor national park. 

Managed by South West Lakes Trust the reservoir was built in 1957. It holds up to 1,550 megalitres (341 million gallons)and covers an area of 40 acres,  supplying water to a large section of North Devon.  

After a short walk around the reservoir, lead by Laurence, a small stream was found and samples of river water were taken and tested. Using special equipment, the team checked the colour, temperature, for traces of mud or other matter and any harmful elements or high readings.

These sample are taken using handy kits provided by the trust to volunteers and their organisation at cost to the charity. Funding helps provide these kits which are highly important to the work and results they need.

Laurence explained the future plans for water probes to be placed permanently in certain areas. These probes will help to reduce the need for volunteers to repeatedly visit sites, inturn reducing their carbon footprint as a trust. The probe is designed to alert via text if certain levels or readings are too high. This then prompts a volunteer to visit and take samples for further investigation if needed.

Only with funding and support can initiatives like this be achieved, helping organisations like The Westcountry Rivers Trust to better improve their work flow, studies and overall the health of our rivers and environment. 

"I'm very appreciative of Laurence taking the time to show us around Wistlandpound Reservoir. It gave us all a much deeper insight into the vital work the Westcountry Rivers Trust are carrying out - their holistic approach to people and problems is brilliant to see."

Who they are & What do they do?

The Rivers Trust are conservation experts with a wealth of data and expertise at their fingertips. They work with their member Trusts, such as Westcountry Rivers Trust, to make their shared vision a reality: wild, healthy, natural rivers, valued by all. They want all life to thrive in and around our rivers.

WESTCOUNTRY RIVERS TRUST

“We care for your Westcountry rivers, streams, brooks, estuaries and wetlands.”

Westcountry Rivers Trust, established in 1994, is an environmental charity with a focus on restoring and protecting the freshwater environments of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, and into Dorset. Its work is underpinned by science, evidence and experience and a commitment to the resilience of the region’s rivers, streams, wetlands, and estuaries to keep them healthy for wildlife and people, both now and in the future.

Through educational activities and community engagement it inspires a love for the region’s rivers, and its work with businesses, other NGOs, environmental organisations, farming and fishing sectors, water companies, local authorities and more keeps bringing rivers to life.

One of the main problems that rivers in the South West face is agricultural pollution. This can be caused by pesticides, run off waste or even cattle getting into the water and bringing soil and residue with them. These areas are carefully monitored by a team of experts and volunteers. Education and information is then provided to farmers or land owners to avoid this happening in the future.

EDUCATION: THEIR APPROACH

Staff at the trust regularly work with landowners, providing advice and information on many aspects of land and river management.

Their education officers also work directly with schools and colleges, supported by colleagues from across the charity to inspire a life-long love for rivers.

The wealth of knowledge and hands on experience is where the real strength lies, and sharing that through education and training is vital to their work.

"Seeing the passion and commitment from those involved is encouraging. By taking part, companies can show their commitment to support the natural world that helps them stay in business."

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED: Be a Citizen Scientist

“Support our independent, flagship Westcountry Citizen Science Investigations project and you will contribute to the resilience of your region’s rivers, their habitats and wildlife – now and for the future.”

Aims

  • To educate and engage people with the water environment.
  • To produce data that can be used to target work and identify degrading water bodies.
  • To spot pollution events which can be dealt with as quickly as possible.
  • To create a network of catchment communities that are invested in their local environment.

Discover how to be part of a fabulous community of CSI volunteers who make a valuable contribution to our work to protect and restore the region’s freshwater environments.

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