Hidden Heritage Secret Streams

PartnersNational Lottery Heritage Fund, Derbyshire County Council, Environment Agency, Friends of Grassmoor Country Park
Key outcomesNatural flood management, community engagement, habitat creation, weir removal.
Local watercourseRiver Rother, Calow Brook, Barlow Brook, Bluebank Pools, River Hipper, Ridding Brook, Slitting Mill

Rediscovering the River Rother

The River Rother and its many tributaries came to prominence in the early days of the 17th century, when the fast-flowing brooks and streams were tamed and dammed to serve watermills, which powered the growing industrial revolution.

In the 19th and 20th centuries heavier industries arrived, bringing toxic pollution that all but wiped-out aquatic life. For many years, the ‘dead river’ was left unwanted. It was unnaturally straightened, culverted and covered up, built upon and hidden away from sight.

The Hidden Heritage Secret Streams project intended to help communities and stakeholders rediscover the River Rother, bringing it back into people’s lives and to tell the story of its recovery and how it still needs help today.

Project logo


Thanks to support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and other partners, DCRT was able to deliver a four-year project.

Rother recovery

The project helped to re-wild a section of the river Rother by removing an industrial weir, allowing it to behave more naturally and function better, whilst boosting the potential for returning wildlife to flourish. We also used natural flood management to Slow the Flow to the Calow at Grassmoor Country Park.

Click the image below to look at our dedicated page for this aspect of the project!

Slow the Flow to the Calow at Grassmoor Country Park

Special educational needs young people and Kakou CIC created a webpage for the project!

Dedicated website for Hidden Heritage Secret Streams

Anthony Downing, for the Environment Agency’s Don and Rother Environment Programme said

“This project is a great opportunity to deliver some important improvements to the natural environment of the River Rother, once one of Europe’s most polluted rivers. A great benefit of working with DCRT, and NHLF support, will be to bring this once neglected river into the heart of the community through their great volunteer and engagement work.”

As well as restoring the river, DCRT helped communities rediscover the Rother by…

Sparking community pride

As part of the four-year project, communities celebrated and discovered the history of Chesterfield’s waterways. Volunteers uncovered archaeological evidence, celebrated the river Rother with an annual well dressing and events.

Changing attitudes

Schools, uniformed groups and local families are offered free educational activities, focused on protecting wildlife and the future of our rivers. New trails and interpretation panels were created, allowing communities to access and rediscover the river.

Enabling people

Catchment volunteers are working to eradicate damaging invasive species and remove decades of industrial waste from the river. Citizen scientists, trained in wildlife identification skills, are helping to monitor the river’s changing diversity and record wildlife.

We removed a weir!

Have a look at our dedicated project page for Slitting Mill Weir removal by clicking the image below.

Slitting Mill Weir removal

Watch a timelapse of the removal.

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