Manchester

Environment Agency's River Medlock project in Manchester wins award

River Medlock before and after the restoration Image copyright Environment Agency
Image caption The River Medlock in Clayton Vale was widened and the brick lining was removed

A restoration project that saw wildlife return to a neglected stretch of river in Manchester after more than 100 years has won an award.

The River Medlock in Clayton Vale was widened, the brick lining removed and two weirs, or barriers, were taken away for the Environment Agency's project.

Brown trout, kingfishers and roe deer have since been seen at the river.

The restoration won a Wild Trout Trust Conservation Award at the trust's Conservation Awards.

Project manager Olly Southgate said: "This lost river, which was once the catalyst for the industrial revolution in this part of Manchester, was neglected for 100 years.

Image copyright Environment Agency
Image caption The red terracotta brick channel was created after flooding in 1872

"It turned from a virtual no-go zone, for wildlife and people, to a thriving habitat for animals and a recreation space for local people."

The stretch of river was a red terracotta brick channel created after flooding in 1872 washed hundreds of bodies from a local cemetery, the Environment Agency said.

It allows the river to flow between the park and cemetery and had been a "sewer-like sterile environment".

"We have already seen rising brown trout in the restored section, kingfishers catching minnows and even roe deer drinking at the water's edge. Not one of these events has been seen on this river for more than 100 years," Mr Southgate said.

The Environment Agency worked with groups such as the Irwell Rivers Trust and Manchester City Council to complete the project.

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