I was lucky to be invited along with the Environment Agency to look at Cringle Brook with ecologist Richard Chadd. Situated south of Grantham passing by Stoke Rochford Village, it is a spring-fed limestone stream flowing into two ornamental lakes.
The healthiest section of the brook is downstream of the lakes in the middle of the golf course. Having been left mainly unaltered for hundreds of years the brook is a fine example of what a small stream should be, and is testament to the environmentally friendly approach to landscaping at the club. Here the clean gravel and extensive tree cover allow for optimum conditions for both brown trout and native crayfish to spawn and thrive.
The upper reaches of the brook aren't it quite so good condition. Here it has probably been modified as some point to make it straighter and wider than it naturally would be. This results in lower flow conditions and silt deposits in this section, and the mono-culture of false watercress takes over and clogs the channel.
However, with some simple interventions in this section it could become a haven for native crayfish to complement the area downstream on the golf course. The white-clawed crayfish are our largest freshwater invertebrate and the only native crayfish in the UK are under threat from non-native American signal crayfish and loss of habitat.
Known as Ark sites native crayfish need and isolated site with running and still water where they can thrive with no ongoing management. Sections of Cringle Brook could be ideal to help prevent the loss of our only native crayfish.
If you would like to be involved in supporting this work then please let me know.
Nicola Craven – Project Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2018 Lincolshire Rivers Trust