As regular readers of this blog will know, post-industrial rivers really do come in all shapes, sizes and conditions (and not all of them now as urban as you might think).
To us, there’s no better proof of this maxim than the otherwise idyllic upper Lathkill, part of the headwaters of the mighty Trent.
However rural the Peak District’s limestone landscape looks at first glance, it’s an area of Derbyshire that’s been intensively lead-mined for centuries.
As this film explains, Magpie Sough was constructed between 1873 and 1881 to drain groundwater out of the Magpie Mine workings and make it possible for the miners to dig for even deeper deposits of lead.
Unfortunately, Magpie Sough taps the little River Lathkill’s aquifer and diverts late-season base flows into the Wye instead… which means it’s necessary for local riverkeepers and EA staff to rescue trout from the upper Lathkill, at least twice or three times every year, before the river bed dries out completely.
There’s a discussion and updates thread here on the Fly Fishing Forums, and we’ll be watching this potential HLF project with the greatest interest.