The Sherbourne Valley – Being Restored to Life

The Coventry Society are partners in the Sherbourne Valley Project – bringing back the source of our city – for people, for wildlife, for the future.

Led by the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, the project is working with partner organisations and local communities to re-write the future of Coventry’s River Sherbourne by establishing an urban living landscape in which people, nature and culture can thrive.

Flowing downstream from Corley Moor, right under and through the heart of Coventry city centre and out to its confluence with the River Sowe in Baginton, this 10-mile waterway is rich in built, natural and cultural heritage; from scheduled monuments to precious natural habitats and unique histories. It is a river with many a story to tell across the centuries.

Having been long-overlooked and partly hidden for decades, together we are working to reconnect people to this special river and the surrounding valley, by making it more accessible along its length and offering immersive interpretation experiences to ignite imaginations. We will lovingly restore the architectural gems and fascinating feats of engineering that sit along its banks, take action to improve the river for wildlife – ensuring a greater biodiversity, and educate local people and schools, empowering them to protect this heritage for all to enjoy.

There are three main strands to the Project:

1) To reverse the decline of natural heritage so that the river can support wildlife to thrive in the city, providing additional benefits to people’s health.

2) To protect the built heritage along the river so that in 100 years’ time these assets still have a value to people and their story is not lost.

Historic Flood Gates on the Sherbourne

3) To bring the river back to life for people through innovative engagement, helping them get a sense of the past, appreciate the value of the natural heritage they have today, and feel empowered to pass that heritage on to the next generation in a better condition.

Other partners in this ambitious scheme work include Coventry City Council, Historic Coventry Trust, Coventry City of Culture, Severn Trent, Environment Agency, Citizen Housing, Diocese of Coventry and Coventry University. We also need the support of other organisations, individuals and local communities.

CovSoc member, Les Fawcett, after helping clean up the River Sherbourne for Civic Day 2014.

There are plenty of opportunities for the public to get involved, including:

Completing an online consultation survey:

Attending upcoming events:

• 4th July, 10am – 12noon and 1.30pm – 3.30pm, Lakeview Park. River Rangers! Ever wondered what’s in the river? Sharks, tadpoles, nuclear waste, toilet paper…? Find out for yourself in this icky, muddy, wet, fun session! Activities include Sewage Soup and river mini beasts, plus a bit about water mill power! Great for children aged 7 -11. Parents to stick around, too please – getting involved is optional. Places limited, so booking is a must. Thanks to our funders, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this activity is free! It would normally cost £3.50 per child. Visit the Sherbourne Valley Project  Facebook page to book.

• June –Sun 27th, July – Sun 11th & Mon 19th, Aug – Mon 9th and Sat 28th, Practical Volunteering: Initially based around Lakeview Park. Contact Alex.Jones@wkwt.org.uk for details.

For more information, including the latest events and surveys, visit: http://www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/RiverSherbourneValley

You can also follow the project on Facebook: @RiverSherbourneValleyLL

Photos courtesy of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and CovSoc

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