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RP01 Rediscovering the Rye

Archaeological/historical remainsArchaeological/historical remains

Rediscovering the Rye

Our Rediscovering the Rye project investigates the archaeology of the Ryevitalise catchment with the help of volunteers, local history groups and academics.

The project's first phase will provide members of the public with an exciting opportunity to sign up as a Historical Archives Research Volunteer to undertake archaeological landscape surveys using LiDAR (‘light ranging and detecting’ or ‘light radar’) technology. All volunteers need to take part is an interest in local archaeology, together with access to a computer - if this is something you are interested in doing, take a look at our current volunteering opportunities page for details on how to sign up.

We hope to find key sites for further investigation and to validate and update existing Historic Environmental Records of the catchment. This exciting phase of the project will help us better understand the relationship communities have had with the river and the surrounding landscapes.

SE5785 LiDAR

Project Aim: To re-engage communities with the archaeological and built heritage of the Rye catchment through recording the remaining evidence of man’s relationship with the river over the centuries.

Project Outcomes:

  • A wide variety and high level of participants engaged and attending workshops and events
  • Participants fully engaged in the compilation of the impact report
  • Comprehensive surveying and recording of the historic environment within the Ryevitalise area.

Rye Reflections - inspired by the river

Crystal Clear waters brim full of fish, deafening bird song and awe inspiring landscapes.

‘Rye Reflections’ is working with the local community to capture people’s memories of wildlife encounters and changes in land use, to record experiences such as catching bullheads in streams, kaleidoscopes of butterflies or the omnipresent sound of turtle doves before these precious memories are lost.

We want to document changes that have happened within the living memory of our community, that shape how we connect with our local landscape today, and how our children will connect with this landscape in the future.

The project team will then share these memories with local school students, encouraging them to compare these experiences with their own, highlighting any changes and inspiring them to protect the Ryevitalise river landscape and its habitats in the future. If you have a wildlife memory, old photographs or journals that could help us tell that story and inspire the next generation of landscape guardians please get in touch with the Ryevitalise team. Email Ryevitalise

Please see our list of current opportunities if you would like to volunteer for this project!

People at village standpipe by G Clitheroe

Project Aim: This project will explore how people’s perceptions of landscape and wildlife abundance change over time depending on their experiences growing up, living and working in the area.  We will capture people’s memories and tell their stories, and inspire the next generation through art, empowering them to take action to conserve and enhance this enigmatic landscape for the future.

Project outcomes:

  • The local community feel a greater connection to the landscape and nature.
  • Society has a better understanding of human impacts on the environment, and are empowered to take action.
  • The landscape is more sympathetic to wildlife, enhancing biodiversity.
  • Visitors to the scheme area have a greater emotional connection to nature and improved wellbeing.

Citizen Science including Riverfly Monitoring

This project empowers volunteers and members of the public to learn more about the rivers within the Rye catchment area. Ryevitalise Citizen Scientists will undertake catchment wide surveys including Riverfly monitoring, water quality testing, vegetation and species surveys including invasive non-native species, veteran tree assessments and an innovative landscape scale bat survey.

Through these records, we will record the recovery of the river and surrounding area, as well as providing a watching brief of the river, species and wider habitats ensuring that pollution incidents are detected early.

Project Aim: To equip local volunteers to help inform and monitor the health of the River Rye, its tributaries, and the wider Ryevitalise landscape area.

Project Outcomes:

  • Volunteer engagement
  • Community and visitor engagement
  • Better understanding of Ryevitalise heritage
  • Better recorded heritage

River lamprey

Read our blog article about a riverfly survey that discovered lamprey in the Ness Hall area


Project Aim: To inspire people to explore the Rye landscape, understand its history and the impact that the river has had on it, share stories, and introduce characters who have lived and worked in the landscape. The project will highlight the importance of rivers and how they continue to shape and influence the landscape and provide habitats for a vast diversity of wildlife. Through our interpretation, we aim to win hearts and minds, inspire love for this special place, encourage a sense of ownership and make a call to action to secure its future.

Project Outcomes:

  • Wide appreciation and understanding of the landscape
  • Improved interpretation at key destination points throughout the Ryevitalise area

Routes Along the Rye

We want more people to have the opportunity to connect with the river, and improve their health and wellbeing by spending time outside in nature. We plan to do this by improving access along four walking routes within the Rye catchment, by removing barriers and improving interpretation and signage along the route. We will create circular riverside walks by linking up existing routes that we can promote to visitors.

Project Aim: To improve opportunities for people to access, enjoy and understand the waterside environment of the River Rye and its tributaries.

Project Outcomes:

  • Reduced negative environmental impacts
  • More people and a wider range of people will have engaged with the landscape
  • People will have developed skills
  • People will have learnt about heritage
  • Heritage will be better managed and in better condition
  • Heritage will be identified/recorded

Upstream, Downstream Schools Programme

Our Upstream Downstream schools programme will allow local schools within the catchment to take part in hands on learning with their local rivers or streams. All activities are tailored to meet curriculum needs and will allow teachers to learn how to use local water courses for educational visits.

Our River Rangers After School Clubs are underway in two schools in the catchment area, local children are currently coming up with exciting ideas for a board game that will help showcase the trials and tribulations of our river system to other children in the area.

If you'd like to be involved in this project, or our other education activities, please get in touch.

Project Aim: To engage local children with their environment and to ensure the next generation have a broad understanding and appreciation of the importance of a healthy, functioning river for both wildlife and people.

Project Outcomes:

  • Teacher Training Days
  • Other Education Provider Training Days
  • Trout in the Classroom
  • Volunteer Recruitment
  • Web-based curriculum resources
  • Additional outreach activity

River Rangers

River Rangers is our youth engagement programme - giving young people aged between 10 - 16 a unique chance to become the river guardians of the future. Led by a team of volunteers, our River Rangers will take part in activities across the catchment such as practical conservation tasks, Riverfly monitoring, fly tying and angling lessons. Thanks to the support from the Ness Fly Fishers and Nunnington Hall, we have an exciting programme of activities for River Rangers to enjoy throughout the spring/summer.

Parents of adventurous children should contact our Education and Engagement Officer to get involved.  We're also looking for volunteers to help us run this project!

River Rangers

Project Aim: To deliver a River Rangers club aimed at young people aged 10 – 16 to undertake a range of activities including ecology days, practical conservation tasks, river walks and angling; to bring the next generation of river guardians together alongside local enthusiasts and experts to learn more about the River Rye, its wildlife and how rivers and the wider landscape interact.

Project Outcomes:

  • More young people engaged with the river environment
  • Volunteer engagement
  • Better understanding of Ryevitalise heritage

Events and Promotion

Our events showcase exciting aspects of our projects, and are a great way to learn more about what Ryeviatlise is about.  To coincide with the Dark Skies Festival, we’re running free ‘Can Fish See in the Dark?’ events at Sutton Bank during February half term - pop by to find the answer to this all important question.

We’re also running a lot of exciting events with several of our partners at Nunnington Hall, firstly we’ll be joining partners for their Easter event, which is river themed! They’ll be lots of interesting stalls all about rivers and what lives in them!

In May we’ll be running our Fish Migration event highlighting the plight of the humble fish. This gears us up nicely for our main launch week, which will be happening in May!

Our official launch day is on Monday 25th May at Sutton Bank National Park Centre. The Ryevitalise Discovery Day is a chance for you to explore what Ryevitalise is about through lots of fun and engaging activities all around Sutton Bank!

During the rest of our launch week (26-29th May) we will be on tour around the catchment running workshops on a variety of river themes including riverflies, mapping, trees, bats and archaeology. For more details of all our launch events please see our events calendar.

Project Aim: To inspire a wide and varied audience – increasing access and learning, ensuring maximum engagement and participation by visitors, stakeholders and communities alike in the scheme; and to develop awareness and ownership, securing continued engagement beyond the life of the scheme.

Project Outcomes:

  • A wide range of people engaged in events
  • Wide appreciation and understanding of the landscape
  • People are more engaged with the landscape.