River Habitat Workshops and Practical Visits

The Wild Trout Trust is a hands on, muddy-waders organisation, so we like nothing better than teaching people the practical skills they need to improve the habitat of their local river. These sessions take place in the river and on the river bank and are led by WTT Conservation Officers.


river habitat management conservation wild trout trustRiver Habitat Workshops are one day sessions run for groups of up to 15 people from a wide range of backgrounds including volunteers for local community conservation groups, fishing club members, Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers and Environment Agency and Local Government staff.

The objective of these workshops is to give participants practical experience of how to manage and improve river habitat for the benefit of wildlife and the community. They are hands-on, in the river, wet and muddy sessions, but tremendous fun as well as great learning opportunities.

These sessions will generally also include short talks on the river bank about relevant issues such as land use, water quality, managing floods and droughts as well as an invertebrate kick sample to look at the bugs in the river and introduce the Anglers Riverfly Monitoring Initiative.

Click here for a case study of River Habitat Workshops in the Thames region.

If you would like the WTT to run a River Habitat Workshop on your river, please contact Shaun Leonard on Director@wildtrout.org.

Thames Water are sponsoring Rivers and Wetland Days and groups in the Thames Water area can apply to the WTT for funding. Click for more details of the application process here, and for an application form here.


river habitat management conservation wild trout trustPractical Visits are similar to workshops in that they are highly practical and held for group of people, but they generally follow on from an Advisory Visit and are more focused delivering a specific project with, for example, a fishing club. Practical Visits last from 1-3 days and may deliver part or all of a project identified in an Advisory Visit or Project Proposal.

The types of activity carried out in these sessions will be determined by the river and the opportunities to improve habitat, but will typically include:

  • protecting banks from erosion using natural materials.
  • installing flow deflectors and large woody debris to introduce more variation in depths and flows.
  • creating ‘tree kickers’ along the bank to provide protection from erosion as well as essential cover from predators for trout.
  • gravel cleaning and gravel introduction to create spawning habitat.
  • coppicing of bankside trees both to win material for ‘in river’ work and to illustrate how to manage bankside vegetation.

river habitat management conservation wild trout trustClick here for a reference guide, which includes links to documents and ‘how to’ videos on this website describing the various techniques demonstrated at River Habitat Workshops and Practical Visits.

The WTT Conservation Officers are fully trained to run these days, including health and safety aspects of this work, first  aid, and use of chainsaws and other equipment. Participants do not use chain saws or other heavy equipment and do not need any special skills other than a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to get wet and dirty!

Waders, gloves and any other protective equipment required can be provided by the WTT.