Unlocking the Severn for children and families at Severn Valley Country Park
A major environmental project on the River Severn will create a permanent legacy for children and families at Severn Valley Country Park, near Bridgnorth.
Unlocking the Severn, a collaboration by Severn Rivers Trust, Canal & River Trust, Environment Agency and Natural England, is one of the largest river restorations of its kind ever attempted in Europe. It will restore over 150 miles of the River Severn to endangered fish species, by creating routes around 6 weirs. The project also aims to reconnect millions of people with the UK’s longest river. Families visiting Severn Valley Country Park will soon be able to enjoy a bespoke River Severn themed play area and explore a sculpture play-trail looping down to the river.
Alex Ball, Community Engagement Manager for the Canals and Rivers Trust, said:
“We really want to inspire young minds about the wildlife and stories of the River Severn. This new play area will spark imaginative outdoor play and the hand-on sculptural trail will guide families down to take in the view of the river.
“Severn Valley Country Park is the ideal place for families to experience the beautiful River Severn landscape and learn more about the river’s wildlife and heritage.”
A specially designed wooden Severn Trow will be the centre piece of the play area. This historic type of river barge was used on the River Severn before proper towpaths were introduced at the end of the 18th century. Children will be able to climb over the boat and play at steering it, loading cargo and keeping a look-out! A total of 10 play foci will be installed, including a sunken barge, a fish-ladder slide, a waterfall-themed rock climb, and a toddler play area.
The beautifully carved wildlife trail will encourage children to explore Severn Valley Country Park down to a bridge crossing the river. Along the way they will have the chance to play on the sculptures and learn more about the river wildlife.
Councillor Lezley Picton Shropshire Council Cabinet member for culture and leisure, said:
“Shropshire Council is very proud of Severn Valley Country Park. It is a Green Flag award winner and is very popular with both locals and visitors to the area.
“We are very grateful to the Unlocking the Severn project for providing this exciting new Family Play Trail. It will be a great addition to the Park and will further encourage families to explore the Severn Valley and discover the fascinating wildlife of the River Severn.”
Installation of the new equipment is underway now, so that the equipment will be ready for families to enjoy through the school summer holidays. A grand opening celebration is planned for October. Find out more at www.UnlockingTheSevern.co.uk and follow @SevernUnlocked on social media for behind the scenes insights.
About Unlocking the Severn
Unlocking the Severn is a project being delivered by the Canal & River Trust, Severn Rivers Trust, Environment Agency and Natural England. It is one of the largest river restorations of its kind ever attempted in Europe, with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the European Union LIFE programme.
State of the art fish passes will be installed on four navigation weirs on the River Severn with works commencing this year, following fish passage improvements that started last year at two sites on the River Teme (a major tributary of the River Severn).
Unlocking the Severn will also deliver ambitious heritage, education and science programmes that aim to reconnect eight million people with the River. This includes working with community groups along the river, over 6000 school children, and creating opportunities for hundreds of volunteers.
The Severn Rivers Trust is an independent environmental charity established to secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of the rivers, streams, watercourses and water bodies in the Severn catchment, and to advance the education of the public in the management of water and the wider environment.
www.severnriverstrust.com / @SevernRivers
The Canal & River Trust cares for and brings to life 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England & Wales. We believe waterways have the power to make a difference to people’s lives and that spending time by water can make us all healthier and happier. By bringing communities together to make a difference to their local waterway, we are creating places and spaces that can be used and enjoyed by everyone, every day. www.canalrivertrust.org.uk / @CanalRiverTrust