Surrey Celebrates World Rivers Day

© Luke Massey

Surrey Wildlife Trust and partners host Surrey Rivers Week from Saturday 22nd to Sunday 30th September.

Joining millions of people across the globe in sixty different countries, Surrey Wildlife Trust and partners are making a splash this September by running a series of events for Rivers Week from 22nd to 30th September.  The events celebrate the United Nations World Rivers Day on Sunday 30th September and promote the value of rivers to the health and wellbeing of wildlife and local communities.

The exciting wet and wild events taking place across the county are for children, families and adults with an interest in conservation and the environment. The Surrey Wildlife Trust activities include, river restoration, guided river plant identification and bat walks, which are free to members and £10 for non-members. 

Rivers Week launches on Saturday 22 September with the Wey River Festival at Dapdune Wharf in Guildford, with a variety of stands, food, craft activities, a bouncy pirate ship and the fantastic illuminated pageant at dusk. With free entry to the Wharf, it is open from 11am to 9.30pm.  

On Monday 24th September, Surrey Wildlife Trust and volunteers are taking the plunge with a river restoration project at Pipp Brook in Westcott, near Dorking.  Local people will be coppicing bankside hazels and turning them into brushwood bundles to narrow the river, to improve river flow and create habitat for plants, invertebrates and fish.

Glen Skelton, wetland landscapes officer at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said: ‘Most of us enjoy a ramble along the river and who can resist paddling in a stream. But rivers are like blue arteries running through the landscape providing a life line for wildlife. If we keep our waterways healthy and clean, with their many tributaries and streams connecting vast areas of the county, they help our wildlife to thrive. And if it’s good for wildlife it’s good for us too.’

Bats use rivers to travel up to 20 miles per night, feeding on insects along the water’s edge. To find out more fantastic bat facts, join Gabbie Graham from the Surrey Wildlife Trust at 6.30pm on Wednesday 26th September at West End Common for a bat walk using bat detectors.

For plant enthusiasts or river lovers, Glen Skelton from the Surrey Wildlife Trust will lead a guided botanical walk around Fox Corner, near Pirbright, at 10am on Thursday 27th September and identify plants in wetland areas.

On World Rivers Day, Sunday 30th September, there is a great day out for the whole family with the River Mole Discovery Day in Leatherhead. Kids can come along with their wellies, get in the river, take samples and look through microscopes at the fantastic aquatic creatures they find.  There will be food stands and other activities between 12 - 4pm and an opportunity to meet professionals and volunteers responsible for river conservation and flood protection.

Glen Skelton added; ‘Rivers can only thrive if people take an active role in looking after them, getting in the river to do clean ups, conserving water and making sure only rain goes down the drain. Issues such as pollution, floods and degradation of habitat are not solely river issues, they are issues for human communities and for the future generations, which impact our own health and well-being.’

Booking is essential for all Surrey Wildlife Trust activities. For more information on River’s Week events visit surreywildlifetrust.org/riversweek

Surrey Wildlife Trust takes a strategic role across Surrey’s waterways hosting the River Wey and River Mole catchment partnerships. Over the last four years, these partnerships have delivered multiple river restoration projects to connect local people back to the river, training over 200 volunteers who have been involved in monitoring and restoring over 4km of river.