THE first phase of the Love Your River Stour project has now been completed thanks to work by the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust and dedicated volunteers.

Work has been taking place along the River Stour, near Stambermill Viaduct, where old muddy paths have been transformed into a new walkway for dog walkers and nature lovers.

The Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust has worked with dedicated volunteers on the project, which has now been celebrated in a film produced by Belbroughton-based film-maker Susan Jones.

Susan, who promotes nature conservation through her Redhead Business Films company since leaving a career in TV, said: “Even though I live locally I’d never explored Stambermill Viaduct and the walk there blew me away.”

She described the hidden beauty spot, off Bagleys Road, as “a true hidden treasure for our town” and added: “Now the footpath is restored everyone can explore it and listen to the tranquil river and abundant birdsong.

"This is an incredible project and the staff and volunteers have achieved so much.”

Stourbridge News: Love Your River Stour river restoration officers Sally Clague and David Howard by the River StourLove Your River Stour river restoration officers Sally Clague and David Howard by the River Stour (Image: Susan Jones / Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust)

The project, which also includes work at Smestow Brook, a tributary of the River Stour – at Wolverhampton, has also involved creating ponds and wetlands, laying more than 400 metres of new hedgerow and planting new native plants and trees.

River restoration officer David Howard said more than 20 volunteers working across the two sites have dedicated more than 2,000 hours to the project which has helped to improve access for people while boosting the mental and physical well-being of those involved.

Senior river restoration officer Sally Clague thanked the committed volunteers and said: “All our river conservation work has already achieved so much and we look forward to continuing to enhance our rivers and river corridors - not only for the benefit of flora and fauna but for the local communities too.”

The Love Your River Stour project, funded through Defra’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, will continue in Lye and Cradley thanks to £100,000 from the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Community Green Grants scheme.