River Trent restoration

River Trent Restoration

A 450-metre stretch of the River Trent through Staffordshire University has been re-naturalised – providing another link in the chain for a joined-up wildlife corridor though the heart of Stoke-on-Trent.

Project Summary

Project: River Trent Restoration
Project Location: Leek Road Site, Stoke-on-Trent
Project Start Date: October 2020
Project Status: Complete

Project Story

The River Trent Restoration project is an ambitious project to bring nature back to a stretch of river running through Staffordshire University’s campus.

The project saw a 400m section of the River Trent, which flowed through an artificially-engineered straight channel in the nature reserve area of the campus, re-naturalised to follow a more natural path through the construction of new, gently meandering route.

The lack of a natural substrate on the river bottom and the reinforced riverbank previously offered limited habitat for wildlife. The new channel which has been created includes series of meanders, gently sloping riverbanks and importantly, the addition of gravel, which could provide spawning sites for brown trout.

The scheme was delivered by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust with support from the Wild Trout Trust and the Environment Agency, as a component of the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) SUNRISE Project, which is led by Stoke-on-Trent City Council. SUNRISE is a major urban conservation initiative primarily funded by the ERDF, which is focusing on restoring and improving natural habitats at 16 sites around Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Key Features

  • Re-naturalisation of a 450-metre stretch of the River Trent through Staffordshire University’s Leek Road site offering a diverse and dynamic habitat for river-dwelling wildlife.
  • The works included river restoration and re-naturalisation in some of the most modified sections, removal of physical barriers such as weirs, wetland creation, grassland improvements and woodland management, and control of invasive species.
  • Construction of a new channel, which includes two river islands, shallow pools, and areas of marginal wetland.
  • Creation of a several small backwater pools along the river’s edge, which will provide a haven for aquatic insects such as dragonflies and damselflies.

We are delighted to see work on the new river channel at the University completed and surrounding areas on campus transformed through this landmark regional project. As a Civic University, we are committed to achieving major change in environmental sustainability in the region through local engagement. The ERDF SUNRISE Project embodies this commitment.

Sally McGill

Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Staffordshire University

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