River Ribble and the Epic Journey of the European Eel

Sunset over the River Ribble

I’m an up and out sort of person and thankfully we have two beautiful Victorian parks, which lie side by side, and a river just a short walk from home. Avenham Park and Miller Park are situated in Preston’s conservation area,  a few minutes from the city centre, but what I want to talk about today is the river that these parks lead down to.

River Ribble

The River Ribble begins in North Yorkshire, near the famous viaduct at Ribblehead. The river travels 75 miles down through Yorkshire and into Lancashire, through Settle, Clitheroe, Ribchester and Preston, before flowing into the Irish Sea at Lytham St Annes.

River Ribble in Winter

There are many species of fish that can be found in the Ribble including Atlantic Salmon, Sea Trout, Brown Trout, Minnows and Loach. But what interests me most is the amazing journey of the European Eel, which starts its life in the Sargasso Sea and makes an incredible journey of 5000km across the Atlantic Ocean to the River Ribble. When the young eels enter the river they travel upstream, sometimes over land and out of water. When they reach sexual maturity, between the age of five and ten, they travel back downstream to the ocean and back across to the Sargasso Sea where they breed.

River Ribble in Summer

The river is a lovely place to relax by in the summer, to read a book, or if the tide is low skim stones. We like to feed the ducks, gulls and the occasional swan. On wet Autumn days we stand on the tram bridge and watch the water rush beneath our feet, feel the wind blow downstream in our hair.

Reading by the river

The Wildlife Trust works hard to create Living Seas, habitable water for creatures and wildlife to thrive. If you fancy reading more info on the River Ribble click on The Ribble Rivers Trust.

And if you are ever in Preston, Lancashire take a short walk from the city centre to Avenham or Miller Park and down to the River Ribble. It’s lovely any time of year.

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