Save The Ribble

A blog dedicated to preserving the beauty and delicate ecosystem of the River Ribble, and opposing the Riverworks 'vision' to build a barrage on our River and develop on our riverbanks, floodplains and green spaces, causing damage to wildlife and the environment and increasing the risk of flooding to our homes. Save the Ribble Campaign is not responsible for the content of external blogs or websites which link here.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Tales from the Riverbank

We feel very priviliged to have come into contact with so many local residents with tales to tell of their connection with the River Ribble and the countryside area on the south bank - both of which will be damaged or lost forever if the Riverworks Project proposals for a barrage and water sports park on the river, and for the enormous building development on the Penwortham green belt and floodplain go ahead. You can contact us at

Here are two very moving tales from local residents which show the depth of connection people feel for this very special area in which we live, and includes their own beautiful photographs:

Bob's Tale.
'The proposals to build a barrage across the River Ribble would, in my view, greatly increase the risk of flooding of low-lying areas at certain times of the year. I lived next to the river, off Broadgate from 1944 until 1973 and on several occasions saw it over the top into Avenham park, into the laying field next to the New Bridge and into Leyland Road in the vicinity of the fire station. Fifty years or so ago, there was a similar crazy plan which alarmed me even then for different reasons. The Ribble formed my entire working life. In about 1953, my friends & I were always playing in the river bed and I found an old radio set there which started my interest in radio. That, coupled with the pleasure in large expanses of water and watching big ships being scrapped alongside Ward's Shipbreaking yard next to the dock, led me to a 31-year career in the Merchant Navy as a radio officer. A barrage would have permanently covered the rocks, rapids & river bed which were my playground. Fortunately, it never came to pass. Even now, I regularly photograph the river in all its moods & here are a few recent photographs showing that it is not always "mud flats," but can become quite sandy as well. I normally take two photographs of the river from Old Penwortham bridge on the first tuesday each month and put them in my computer so I can see it change over the seasons.
What a shame it would be to lose the different "moods" of the river'.
Bob W.

Here are some of Bob's photographs, others will be posted on River Photography

4th April 2006 from Penwortham Old Bridge towards Penwortham Holme

4th April 2006 Broadgate at low tide

31st January 2006 High Tide.

Derek's Tale.
'I am 87 years old and about to go into hospital for a serious operation. I was shocked to hear that they wanted to build on the fields of Lower Penwortham. Why can they not to leave these places of beauty alone? I have lived here for a quarter of my life and have always used this area to walk my dogs. I met my second wife whilst out walking there. Our dogs fought and Popeye, my terrier was hurt. My wife died recently and the place is so full of memories for me. It is a unique, beautiful place and I hope it can be saved. Where can you find cattle grazing in verdant pasture 10 minutes' walk from Woolworths?

I have written a poem which captures my protest at its threatened loss, linking my coming departure, with its'.

Tram Bridge Stones by Derek Marrison.

The river flows,
The time goes,
My time is nearly gone,
But, before I go,
Down below,
I see
Tram bridge stones.

Dumped years ago
When they built the tram bridge
Across the Ribble low,
These rocks they discarded -
Now the bridge shadow
On the river
Quivers amongst their shimmer.

The river flows
The time goes,
And what is not guarded
Will be discarded.
The land across Avenham water
Will be shown no quarter,
And like Time's sands,
Slip through our hands.

Parallel lines of ancient industry
And nature now intertwined,
Across the Ribble at Penwortham,
That's what you'll find!
A place to meditate,
A place to quietly roam,
In pastoral pastures
Near the city centre
And our homes.

Let us not discard it
Like Tram bridge stones!

Tram Bridge

For more residents' views, comments, stories and connections, see More Tales from the Riverbank and links.


At 6:22 pm, Anonymous gail, sheffield said...

Dear save the ribble campaign,

We have just visited our relatives who live in penwortham and we have taken our 2 dogs out for a walk in the beautiful green fields near to the city. You are so priviledged to have countryside easily accessible from your city. This is a real bonus for preston. We are from Sheffield and although we are surrounded by countryside, it is a car journey away. I cannot believe that the council would want to ruin this, instead of marketing it for the gem it is. I was quite tempted to move here myself!

At 8:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although my voice will not count for much as I am only 11, it would be a great pity to ruin the character of the Ribble. I do not see any benefits of a barrage, only losses.


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"The care of rivers is not a question of rivers, but of the human heart" Tanako Shozo Save The Ribble Logo