A PROJECT which aims to “tidy up” Hereford's neglected brooks is underway.

Richard Fishbourne is leading a project – in association with Community First – to create a community-led project management plan of the Yazor, Eign and Widemarsh brooks.

According to Mr Fishbourne, who also runs Herefordshire’s ‘Bugs and Beasties’, the watercourses have a history of neglect, pollution over abstraction and inconsistent management.

But with funding secured from Welcome to Our Future and The Bulmers Foundation, he is hoping to gather as large a community group as possible to work out ways in which the brooks can be managed sensitively to increase biodiversity, maintain flows and improve aesthetic quality for the greater good of all Hereford residents.

Support from one of the county's largest employers, Cargill, also enabled Mr Fishbourne to recently work with a group of students from Hereford's Trinity Primary School.

"I have taken children out to survey the brooks' aquatic species and also to look at life along the river's margins. We found frogs and toads and crab spiders and the children also saw tortoise shell butterflies,” he said.

"We had the most amazing time. The school has been absolutely brilliant and we are also hoping to build habitat boxes and interpretation panels to make the footpaths more engaging and informative."

Mr Fishbourne added that it would be a "fantastic achievement" to be able to work out ways in which the community could become responsible for managing all the water courses in the city.

Employees from Cargill also got involved by gathering a group of employees together to undertake some restoration work along the brook near their premises on Yazor Road.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the project can call Mr Fishbourne on 01432 860323.