Tales From The Riverbank...
Suddenly Summer is gone and Autumn has arrived, yet the ever-changing River Ribble and green spaces still offer us sources of rest and relaxation and contemplation...
Thanks to all of you who have sent in your comments and stories and pictures and concerns, a selection of which we are including here...
'A Walk by the River Ribble.
Yesterday I walked by the river with my husband and little dog Skip. On our left, the river at low tide provided a feeding ground for a great variety of birds. On our right, a field of ripe golden barley, soon to be harvested.
It is hard to believe that such a lovely rural area can be so close to a city. The river, the fields, the banks of the river with a rich variety of wild flowers, give the whole area a feeling of peace and rural tranquillity. On our walk we met many people like ourselves enjoying the calming influence of a little bit of rural England.
This is the area on which Preston City Council are planning to build a large number of houses, plus shops, hotels, and a promenade: for what purpose? Certainly not for the benefit of this beautiful place or its residents.
We walked on to the tram bridge where my husband enjoyed one of his favourite views looking up the river towards Brockholes and Darwin Moor in the distance.
When by the river I am filled with girlhood memories of long summer days spent by the river at Brockholes. We even found a pool clean and clear enough to swim in. At very low tide we could walk across the river and watch a farmer shearing his sheep, and in another nearby field cattle grazed.
The fields, the banks of the river, the woods carpeted with bluebells in Spring (which in those days we would take home in armfuls I’m afraid) were always there for us to enjoy. We thought for always.
With the help of our dedicated campaigners against the barrage and its attendant horrors we can preserve this beautiful river for our continued enjoyment and the enjoyment of generations to come.'
Margaret S, Penwortham.
'Every morning I cross the Ribble on the old bridge in Broadgate and every evening cross back home again, and every time I cross the river I see its many changing moods and tides, and hear its many voices and in those few minutes twice a day my heart lifts and my mood calms and my everyday stresses flow away on the tide. No-one has the right to change this river: it belongs to no-one but to itself and to all of us, and most of all we belong to the river as without it our lives are so much poorer.'
'There is one specific feature which I have not seen reported recently (but could well have been). In quite a few summers of the 1960's, when the river was more polluted, there were vivid instances of de-oxygenation. I witnessed them between the Grand Union railway bridge and Broadgate in particular. They were associated with floating rafts of mud buoyed up by gases produced by decay. The gases floated the mud off the bottom onto the surface. There were bubbles breaking the surface all over. Coarse fish would simply gasp until dead and float away on the surface. No doubt others died under water without being seen. Eels would wriggle out of the water and up the bank. Flounders would similarly come to the side to die with their head parts out of the water.
These distressing sights were caused by low oxygen levels – one of the known effects of barrages. Some coarse fishermen might be thinking a barrage would benefit coarse fishing. The risks of de-oxygenation should make them think otherwise. Do any other folk remember these occurrences?'
Stuart H, Ribble fisherman.
We often receive emails and comments from people all over the world - many of whom have some experience of the Ribble either during visits or are ex-Ribblesiders...
'I was born in Broadgate and grew up by the river, and even though I've lived in the Midlands for years now (had to move here with my job) I still feel like Preston is home and intend to move back in the next few years. So keep up the good work Save the Ribble as I won't want to come back if the river is ruined by a barrage and watersports and all those green fields opposite the park are lost beneath concrete roads and housing estates - we spent all our school holidays in the summer playing in the woods and fields, what glorious freedom!'
'Hi. I just looked at your website, completely by chance. Nice pictures.
Crumbs, what a to-do. Well, I wish you luck. I used to go out with a girl from Clitheroe and I remember it as a lovely part of the country.
All the best.'
There have also been a steady stream of letters published in the Lancashire Evening Post, including this pertinent contribution from Ribblesider E. Farington which is well worth including...
You can click on the image to read the letter in full, but this local Ribblesider points out that 'the green spaces around the Ribble corridor are a unique feature of Preston, absent in cities like Manchester and Liverpool' and that 'there is a great potential for using our unique environment for recreational and tourism purposes'.
E. Farington points out that 'unfortunately, in its bid to become more like Manchester and Liverpool, Preston City Council's Vision threatens to destroy the qualities of the Ribble and our green spaces which... most residents value so much', and further, 'All environmental organisations understand that building a barrage on a tidal river such as the Ribble would have disastrous environmental consequences and cause a long term economic drain on local resources'.
Local Ribblesiders recognise that our unique River and green spaces are 'assets' - which is why the Council must not be allowed to build all over them!
Such heart-felt concerns as these are repeated by Ribbleside residents week in and week out, and clearly show the enormous value that local people place on the Ribble and our green spaces - which is why we will fight to defend them!
The Ribble's voice...
Long Live The Ribble Wild!!
You can read more Tales From the Riverbank here and here...
...follow Ribblesiders walking The Ribble Way from the Ribble's Source to the Sea:
Part 1 here and Part 2 here and Part 3 here...
You can find out more about the environmental impacts of the Mary River Barrage here: Traveston Mary River Barrage on You-Tube
You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org