Residents hit out over damage to beauty spot

Sue Mitchell complains about work done on the riverbank at Bothal.'REF 2407140558
Sue Mitchell complains about work done on the riverbank at Bothal.'REF 2407140558

Angry residents have claimed a trust has damaged a local beauty spot by bulldozing a weir.

A section of the river Wansbeck near Bothal has been removed by The Rivers Trust to provide safe passage for the migration of fish upstream.

But those living nearby claim the deep river has been reduced to a narrow shallow channel, which will have major repercussions on the wildlife.

And they say the work has made it an easy target for poachers, with fish now unlikely to make it upstream for the breeding season.

Sue Mitchell, whose property backs onto the river, said: “What was a stunning beauty spot that generations of people have enjoyed has now been absolutely devastated by the quite literally, bulldozing away of the weir and fish pass.

“The resultant drop in river level has been over two metres, and what formerly was a river of eight to ten feet in depth is now reduced to a narrow shallow channel.

“I have spoken to fishermen, an ex-bailiff and current bailiff at the site and they all concur that what has been done has made this location now a poacher’s paradise.

“It is an absolute and total destruction of a stunning area.”

John Hogger, chairman of trustees for Northumberland Rivers Trust, said: “The weir itself was making artifically high water level upstream.

“Lowering that level has had an immediate visual impact which will take time to recover, it will recover, but it will take time.

“We accept there is an issue at the moment, but it will recover and it will be more natural and self sustaining than before.

“It could take months or years but given some time it will recover.”