UK’s largest rock ramp built to help fish travel up river

More than 9000 tonnes of rock has been crafted to facilitate a fish pass in West Lothian.

River Almond: The rock ramp will help fish travel upstream.
River Almond: The rock ramp will help fish travel upstream.

The UK’s largest rock ramp has been built to help fish travel up the River Almond in West Lothian.

More than 9000 tonnes of rock has been crafted to facilitate a fish pass at Howden Bridge Weir, which will allow the species to reach spawning grounds.

The weir was originally built to power the New Calder Paper Mill, which produced wrapping paper from the 1800s.

The Howden rock ramp – which officially opened on Tuesday – was built between existing islands over three months.

Project: The ramp is made up of pools and runs.
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It forms a waterfall-like structure made up of pools, runs and easy leaps to help fish over the weir.

Tree planting, riverbank restoration and riverside furniture repair work has also been carried out by a mixture of professional contractors and enthusiastic volunteers.

The ramp is one of eight projects on the River Almond designed to reinvigorate the ecosystems of the water to the benefit of the wildlife and communities connected to it.

West Lothian: The ramp is one of eight projects on the River Almond.

Alison Baker, director of the Forth Rivers Trust, said: “The completion of this key work for the improvement of conditions for migratory fish on the River Almond is momentous and the progress made on other projects this year is very exciting.

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“The RiverLife project has only been delivered due to ten years of hard work by the trust, Sepa and other organisations including West Lothian Council.

“This will help the overall ecology of the river by making it easier for fish to access spawning areas further up, supporting other wildlife and making the populations of iconic species such as Atlantic salmon more sustainable.

“It’s not just fish species and supporting wildlife such as invertebrates, otters and kingfishers that will benefit.

“The Howden rock ramp is an opportunity for the local community to engage with the river which is at the heart of Livingston.

“Whilst considering the heritage of the industrial past, we have created something which is reflective of Livingston and West Lothian today; respecting the past but looking towards a future which connects people with nature and provides a sense of place and wellbeing.”


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