The Skill Mill cohort started with planting 100 trees of mixed species which were all tubed and staked to protect them from wildlife. These were planted on a banked area of farmland between two fields which are located near to the watercourse.
The next stage involved working on the south bank of the watercourse 700 meters downstream from the road bridge to help reduce bank erosion. Using willow provided, The Skill Mill were shown by members of the Northumberland Rivers Trusts several techniques on how to work the willow to stable the banks. The techniques shown included ‘pinned woody debris’, ‘bundles of willow’ and ‘willow whips’.
The final task was to build and install a fish pass under Ogle bridge. This pass was built using Oak batons which has been bolted into the concrete river bed by using a cordless power drill and fixing it together using 8mm stainless steel anchors.
An oak box was also constructed and placed below the fish pass to hold water to enable the fish to get get up onto the fish pass without running into shallow waters. This box has been bolted also into a concrete bed and lined with clay which had been taken from the bank further upstream.
This piece of work had been the most challenging to date. It required teamwork and new skills to be learned and applied. It gave the cohort an insight into reducing erosion and the advantages of encouraging the local wildlife to thrive.
On site there were four different aspects to the job which gave a variety of work and meant learning new skills which the lads can take into future employment. The cohort took a great sense of pride in the work they have completed and are proud of what they have managed to achieve here.