Just ten minutes away from Marlborough High Street is the multi-award winning Stonebridge Wild River Reserve, a 15 acre water meadow with the River Kennet, an important chalk stream flowing through it. The site supports a wide range of native wildlife including otter, kingfisher, water vole, cuckoo and brown trout. It has been awarded 'Outstanding' by South West in Bloom for the last three years and was also awarded the Monk Trophy for 'Best use of native plants' in 2015 when ARK created a wetland to filter road surface runoff pollution.
Stonebridge Meadow (part of the reserve), is jointly owned by charity Action for the River Kennet (ARK) and Marlborough Town Council.
Community days and free events are held on a regular basis. Visit ARK's website and Facebook page for the latest information: www.riverkennet.org www.facebook.com/riverkennet
ARK River School activities are very popular with local groups, such as schools, Brownies and Cubs. These are excellent opportunities to get children outdoors exploring and learning about their precious chalk stream and the equally important adjoining habitats.
For several months each year ARK's Belted Galloway cattle carry out conservation grazing, this is increasing the biodiversity of the site. Volunteers are on a rota system to check the livestock on a daily basis.
To download the Stonebridge Guide, including a map click here: Stonebridge Map and Guide
Currently ARK volunteers are working on re-establishing Stream water crowfoot within the river and restoring an eroded section of riverbank. Crowfoot is a native aquatic plant that oxygenates the river, provides habitat for small fish and invertebrates and looks very beautiful when in bloom. It is dependant on unpolluted water and good flow.
On land they are busy maintaining access along the wooden boardwalk and seating area, as well as carrying out hedge maintenance on our 3,000+ native trees. Bins are emptied and footpaths are mown by the Town Council's grounds team.
In autumn 2017 four thousand Snake's head fritillary bulbs were planted by volunteers. It was amazing to see so many flower earlier this year and ARK will be working with their volunteers to hold another bulb planting day this autum.
To find out more about ARK and Stonebridge Wild River Reserve visit: http://www.riverkennet.org/about-the-river/stonebridge-wild-river-reserve