The Forth Rivers Trust is an environmental charity with a key focus on rivers, in particular rivers which flow into the Forth Estuary and Firth of Forth. Operations and Development Manager Jonathan Louis explains the significance of rivers in the Callander area and how the Trust is working as a part of Callander’s Landscape to protect and enhance them.

Rivers are important for a number of reasons. They are the veins of the landscape; helping to shape the landscape and moving water out to sea while also intersecting most habitats. They support wildlife by providing habitats and acting as transit corridors for wildlife to move throughout the landscape. They also support the communities that have developed along them, using them as a source of power and water, as well as offering countless recreational opportunities.

But do you know what lives in your local river? You might be surprised by the vast amount of wildlife that lives beneath the surface of the water or along its banks. Fish are a key species which live in rivers across Scotland, in particular within the Callander landscape. Salmon, sea trout, brown trout, eel, lamprey and stone loach are just a few species you might find. You also might find minnows: a small fish which like to shoal. Next time you are down by your local river, have a look at the water’s edge and see what species you can spot.

Other wildlife you might see include otters, beavers, kingfishers, dippers, bats and lots more. All wildlife relies on healthy rivers to thrive, so next time you visit the River Teith you might be lucky enough to spot some of the fantastic creatures.

Making sure rivers are healthy is a key aim of the Forth Rivers Trust as, if they are not, this can have a lasting impact on the landscape. As part of the Callander’s Landscape ‘Rivers’ project, the Trust is delivering a number of improvements to tackle issues facing rivers around Callander.

We are working with local landowners such as Drumardoch Estate to deliver riverbank fencing, tree planting, and methods to protect the riverbanks in a green and friendly way. This work will benefit the landscape in a number of ways:

  • It will support Atlantic Salmon numbers by benefitting the Leny Burn, which is an important spawning ground.
  • Fencing off the river from livestock will allow native vegetation to regenerate and grow along the river’s edge and provide habitats for wildlife.
  • Trees will also be planted along the Leny Burn so there is a varied age range. This will mean trees will continue to be along the river’s edge well into the future – something that might not have happened if trees die and over grazing continued. The trees will also provide shade and cover, keeping the river cool during hot summers and providing shelter for wildlife.
  • The bank protection will use willow and natural materials to create a cushion in front of the riverbank to slow erosion. Using natural materials will mean that the bank protection will also create habitat for wildlife while also providing protection for the wet meadow and future risk to the nearby paths.

As well as the restoration work, the Trust is also running a series of activities to engage people with rivers. We have so far run an intro to angling workshop for 16 – 26 year olds to introduce them to fishing, salmon redd (nest) survey training for volunteers, a guided walk along the River Teith as part of this year’s Summerfest, and we have worked with Callander primary school on a project called Fish in the Classroom.

Our dedicated ‘Rivers Centre’ has also been established at Keltie Bridge as an educational and engagement facility. More activities both here and out in the field are planned over the project’s lifetime with lots of great opportunities for everyone to get involved.

If you would like to learn more about the rivers that are so integral to our landscape, or want to get involved with any of our activities, sign up to the Callander’s Landscape volunteer mailing list to be kept notified of all opportunities. You can also find these listed in our events calendar. More information about the project can also be found here.