A FRIENDS group has been formed for Keighley’s “green ribbon” the River Worth.

The River Worth Friends plan to raise the river’s status as a rich and diverse home for people, wildlife and business.

They are starting out with a series of walks, nature studies and clean-ups, and hope to attract new members of all ages.

Founding member Philip Sheridan said: “The River Worth runs as a green ribbon through the centre of Keighley acting as a wonderful green corridor for wildlife.

“It might not look all that pretty in places but it has an abundance of plants, wild trout, grayling, Kingfishers and river flies.”

Dr Paul Gaskell from the Wild Trout Trust last October carried out an audit of the river, from its confluence with the River Aire upstream to Woodhouse Road Bridge.

Mr Gaskell made a number of recommendations which the River Worth Friends will use as the basis for their future work, including monthly activities each combining three elements.

Mr Sheridan said each event would include an organised litter-pick and guided walk along the banks of the river to show off its potential as a great asset to Keighley.

He said: “There will also be a demonstration of Riverfly Monitoring, a citizen science programme where members of the public can sample riverflies from the river or stream bed.

“The monitors count eight key species and upload the data to a national database. Any change in the population count of these riverflies can alert monitors to inform the Environment Agency to investigate for potential pollution incidents."

The events are on January 27, February 3 and March 3, from 10.30am to 1.30pm. They will start in the car park at Dalton Mill and finish with a cuppa at Cafe Choux Choux in Keighley Railway Station.

The March 3 event will tie in with the 2018 Great British Clean Up.

The activities are open to people of all ages, but under-16s must be accompanied by an adult. It is recommended that people turn up in warm clothes and suitable footwear.

The group has been funded by the lottery-funded regeneration group Keighley Big Local, which operates in neighbourhoods along the banks of the River Worth.

The group is also being supported by Muppett, the community development worker with Community Action Bradford and District.

For further information, email philipsheridanflyfishing@gmail.com or contact Muppett on 01535 665258 or muppett@cabad.org.uk.