Upper Avon Enhancement Project


Coal mining and, more recently, agriculture have put pressure on the upper river Avon near Slamannan. The straightening and dredging of the channel in the latter part of the 20th century is the most recent and most notable of these pressures (see maps).  This has resulted in an incised, uniform channel with little flow diversity.  Furthermore, the absence of trees and shrubs on the banks, partly due to collapsing stock fences resulting in increased grazing pressure, means that there is little riparian habitat diversity.

Over several years, the Slamannan Angling and Protective Association (SAPA) have carried out 4 phases of habitat improvement works on the upper river Avon.  These phases have mainly involved the placement of boulders to increase flow diversity.

The Project

By working with local river stewards and land managers, the RiverLife team are adding to the work done by SAPA and mitigating some of the pressures on this part of the river.

These works focussed on improving habitat and biodiversity along a stretch of the Upper Avon near Slamannan.  By improving stock fencing, planting trees and protecting riverbanks, these works will improve vegetation structure, stabilise banks and reduce siltation.  Long term, the river and riparian zone will be improved for wildlife, while landowners and local river stewards will be better equipped to manage their freshwater environment.


The project consisted of:

3 days brash banking workshop (6 volunteers)

2 days tree planting (16 volunteers)

2 days willow weaving workshop (2 volunteers)

4 days dry-stone construction and drainage maintenance workshop (5 volunteers)


In total:

11 days activity/training workshops and 29 volunteers trained (approx. 400 volunteer hours given)

Over those 11 days:

50+ metres of green bank protection installed

430 native broadleaves planted

2 field drains maintained (4 metres of dry-stone headwall constructed)


c.2500 metres stock fencing constructed by a local contractor.

Fencing on the Upper Avon

This summer - adding to the bank protection, tree planting and drainage work carried out as part of the Upper Avon Enhancement project - 2km of stock fencing was erected along the left bank.  This will protect riverbank vegetation from overgrazing and reduce the risk...

Upper Avon Enhancement project

Tree planting Two volunteers from Slamannan Angling and Protective Association and four from SNH planted 150 trees. Unpalatable and grazing resilient species (alder, downy birch, hawthorn and blackthorn) were planted without protection in an effort to reduce...