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Cambridge City Council

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Chalk streams

Chalk streams

Chalk streams are internationally rare habitats. About 85% of the world’s chalk streams are in the UK, mostly in the south and the southeast of England. They provide habitats for many significant species, including brown trout and water vole.

In Cambridge, Bin Brook, Cherry Hinton Brook, Coldham’s Brook, Hobson’s Brook and Vicar’s Brook are all chalk streams. The chalk aquifer they emerge from, to the southeast of the city, is a main source of water for residents and businesses.

Protecting and improving our chalk streams

We and Cambridge Water commissioned the Wildlife Trust and the Wild Trout Trust to assess the health of the streams. We’ll publish their report here in October 2020.

We will use the findings to create an action plan that local groups and stakeholders can work together to fund and put in place.

Over winter 2020 we and the Friends of Cherry Hinton Brook will work to improve the upper reaches of the stream. We’ll reduce silt and introduce gravels to encourage invertebrates and spawning fish. Check back here for details soon, or visit the Friends’ website.

As the project develops we’ll share more exciting news, projects and opportunities to help protect your local stream.

Tips and advice

Much of the water we use in Cambridge comes from the same source that supports our chalk streams. Using less water, particularly in warm, dry summers, leaves more to support the environment. Check the Cambridge Water website for information about why you should save water.

If you’re responsible for a chalk stream, the Wildlife Trust offer advice about improving water quality and wildlife habitats.