THE River Kennet has a large number of trout at Axford thanks to a project organised by Action for the River Kennet (ARK) and with the help of children from St Nicholas Baydon.

Anna Forbes helped organise groups of children who released the young fish into the river today (March 20, 2019) with further releases planned further down stream.

She said: "The project is now in its 11th year, it is fun and educational and ends with the classes coming with us to a local stretch of river where they get in and get to release their fish."

Photographer Trevor Porter said the children were very excited and followed the instructions and were delighted to see the fish swim free.

ARK said thanks to the diverse range of habitat found throughout its course, the River Kennet supports a wide range of fisheries, many of which offer excellent angling opportunities for coarse and fly fishing alike.

They said the upper reaches of the Kennet have classic chalkstream characteristics and the river has been famous for trout fishing since the late nineteenth century because of the healthy populations of wild brown trout. Today the river still supports wild brown trout, but these are supplemented with stocked fish for anglers to catch. Brown trout are traditionally caught using a 'dry-fly', which imitates a real insect or larva. The historic tradition of dry fly fishing uses a range of imitators such as the March Brown, Hares Ear and the delightfully named Lanns Particular. Fishermen skilfully cast these onto the surface of the water to fool the fish into rising to catch it.

Anna's focus is the upstream reaches and tributaries of the Kennet, where she managers teams of volunteers and leads weekly practical conservation and restoration projects in and by the river.

She carries out and oversees a variety of surveying and monitoring work, including our water vole surveying and riverfly monitoring.

Anna is the Project Officer for Stonebridge Wild River Reserve, she runs ARK River School engagement sessions for local groups of all ages from Brownies to residents in care homes helping them enjoy and get involved with their local river and surrounding habitats.