Looking after the fish, looking after the river.
“Caring for and having access to our heritage and our natural world will be ever more important as we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis. Thanks to National Lottery players, this project will engage a wide range of people in recording the history of angling on the River Teign and in creating a healthy future for the river and its wildlife.”
– Stuart McLeod, The National Lottery Heritage Fund
We are a year and a half in to the River Teign Restoration Project now, and despite a slower start than we’d have liked due to the pandemic, we are seeing some real improvements to the river now. There has been a lot going on, much of which can be seen on our website, Instagram […]
It’s been hot, and we all know it. Temperature records beaten, fields scorched yellow, and very low river levels. None of us can say for certain, but it seems these extreme weather patterns are likely to continue. But what does a hot spell like this mean for a river? We can see that levels are […]
For Summer 2022, our project partners MED Theatre are producing a new short storytelling performance inspired by their 2021 sell-out performances of ‘Salmon’. These performances tell the story of two fish of the Teign: Grilse and Kelt, two Atlantic salmon exhausted by their travels from Dartmoor to Greenland and back again and dreading what they must […]
A Salmon is so much more than a fish, and in the same way, a river is much more than just water.
A living Salmon is a culmination of the environment and every living thing in and associated with that river. In the same way that a river is much more than the simple flow of water from the hills to the ocean.
Both river and therefore fish are influenced by every single drop of rain that falls on the slopes, as well as every plug pulled, every dishwasher emptied, each toilet flushed and every field farmed. In addition, the soil and vegetation that form the landscape and grow on it are reflected in the character of that river.
To be a river whose character can be defined and described as a Salmon river says a lot. It says clean, vibrant, healthy and wholesome. Therefore to be called a Salmon river is high acclaim indeed.
The river Teign, in Devon, is just such a river and since the last ice age, it has been always been this way. Things however are changing and we don’t fully understand why. We have theories, hunches and ideas, but the facts, other than the certainty that fish - both Salmon and Sea Trout and other species are declining are difficult to find. This is where the River Teign Restoration Project and you can make a difference.
A River doesn’t exist in isolation, it is a living entity, a collective partnership of many different species including us. The decline in Salmon in any river is a clarion call that tells us all is not well in the world and in its waters.
Anglers around the UK and throughout the species natural range have been aware of the worrying decline in Atlantic Salmon for a while. Every year less and less Salmon return to their home rivers and in response to this here on the river Teign a group of concerned Anglers decided they needed to do something about it.
The Teign Angling and Conservation Association formed an alliance with the National Trust, Environment Agency, West Country Rivers Trust, Peter Randall-Page and MED Theatre and a successful application was made to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
And so The River Teign Restoration project came into being and got underway in February 2021 and is due to run for at least four years.In essence, this project aims to improve the River Teign and all of its tributaries for Salmon and Trout. Halting the decline and restoring their populations.This will by definition benefit the health of the river, its associated wildlife and of course us. You don’t have to be an angler to appreciate a healthy river. A clean and healthy riverine ecosystem is good for everything and all - just think of the enigmatic and iconic otter, the dash of a dipper or kingfisher and the dazzle dragonflies and damselflies and that is literally just skimming the surface. The presence of life in all its forms is reassurance to the itinerant paddler, river walker and bank-side pic-nicker that all is well.
Reconnecting with the River
Increasing awareness, informing and educating is critical to the future of this river. We aim to do this in a multitude of ways. Over the course of the project, we will put on performances, presentations, competitions, provide school visits, guided walks and fishing demonstrations. We will recruit a team of 'river watchers' and volunteers that will help us achieve these and also carry out practical conservation work from surveys to water quality testing and riverbank management.
This project aims to involve not just those that live in the catchment but also those underrepresented audiences such as young people, visitors, holidaymakers and the residents of the many new developments. Responsibly promoting the river as a place of life, enjoyment, angling and its many health and well-being values.
Leaving a legacy. After four years we hope to have set in motion a project that has enough momentum to carry the values of this project into the future. Not just a living legacy of a recovering river but an accompanying archive of cultural heritage and of course useful information that will guide the continued trajectory to a better, cleaner and more fishful river.