Cam Valley Forum

Our regular activities include:

Sharing information about the river

The forum's main role is to disseminate information about the river and all its tributaries and riverside land, to raise awareness of their importance for people and for wildlife, to highlight any threats to their waters and surroundings, and to demonstrate what has been done, and what could be done, to improve the river and streams for future generations. One of the ways in which the forum seeks to do this is by its regular e-newsletters, which are posted on this website and available to all. Contact David Brooks if you would like to receive them.

Influencing development plans

We are consulted by the district councils on major planning applications for development and other proposals that might affect the river and riverside land.

Caring for riverside meadows

We work with other organizations to clear litter and invasive vegetation (such as Himalayan Balsam and the non-native Floating Pennywort) from the river, streams and riverside areas.

Removing Floating Pennywort
Removing Floating Pennywort from Coldhams Common
Mel Restoration Group working in the River Mel
© Sandra Webb
Volunteers working on the River Mel
at Meldreth

Encouraging community projects

We encourage people to care for their nearby stretches of river or streams and adjacent areas, making them better for wildlife and for people. We run workshops and guided walks to demonstrate what can be done. Following our workshop in 2005 a new group was set up to improve the river Mel in Meldreth. The River Mel Restoration Group is actively improving the Mel near Meldreth and also helping volunteers near Melbourn. Anyone interested in lending a hand should contact Maureen Brierley 01763 262752.

The forum also gives small grants to help such groups get started. The Wildlife Trust, under its 'Water for Wildlife' Project, can give advice to local groups on how to improve the biodiversity of riverside land by creating wet meadows, pollarding willow trees or improving habitats for water vole and otters.

Walks and talks

Our educational activities include at least one guided walks each year to explore what can be done to improve rivers and riverside land. These walks, and the occasional workshops and newsletters, are always available and free of charge to non-members.

Walks and talks
Looking at improvements carried out by Friends of the River Shep

Partnership projects

The forum is able to make occasional small contributions to river restoration work carried out by other organisations. It contributed to the work that South Cambridgeshire District Council carried out to improve wildlife habitats along the river Cam adjacent to the new riverside park created at Trumpington Meadows.

Placing gravel at Trumpington Meadows
© Rob Mungovan
Placing gravel at Trumpington Meadows

Keeping a watch on pollution

We keep an eye out for signs of pollution and practices which appear to be endangering the water quality and the health of aquatic plants. This has, for example, included voicing our concerns about the clean-up of the Hauxton factory site, and lobbying the District Council Environment Agency on its use of chemical spraying to control vegetation in the upper Cam.

The Cam Catchment Partnership

The Cam Valley Forum is working with other partners - including the Cam Conservators, the Environment Agency, the Wildlife Trust, Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council - to develop a river strategy and ideas for improvement projects for the whole Cam catchment area. The group, which was convened by Cambridge Past Present and Future in January 2013, has organised several workshops with various stakeholders and has identified a wide range of potential projects for improvement. It is now seeking funds to make them happen.

To keep in touch with progress, or to register your interest in contributing to this project, please see the Cambridge PPF website.

© Christine Jennings

Our previous projects include:

For several years we were able to offer short summer courses to introduce young children to streams and the plants that grow in and near them.

Willow trees beside the Bourn Brook

We commissioned a survey of the willow trees alongside the Bourn Brook which provided the basis for approaching landowners with suggestions for their management and advice on sources of funding for pollarding.

A walk along the Bourn Valley

We produced a leaflet on a walk from Cambourne to Grantchester using public rights of way and permissive paths.

Sustainable riverside farming

We helped to establish a project, run by the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group , encouraging riverside farmers to manage their land in environmentally friendly ways. This project has ended, but the Wildlife Trust, in its 'Water for Wildlife' project, is building on the contacts made by FWAG to improve the biodiversity of the river corridor.

Join the Cam Valley Forum and help us to increase our influence and develop more projects. See Contacts page.

Homepage | Our vision | Contact us | Map of the Cam | What we do | River links | Photographs