Story of Place for
NW Plymouth

BLC partnered with Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT) on something that we hope will be more than a project; Plymouth River Keepers, a 3-year in-community journey to connect water, people and place–people who know the place best, who have a deep interest in nature and who have the gumption to care for their local water in the natural environment, particularly the small, forgotten streams.

In 2019, South West Water offered to pay Westcountry Rivers Trust to help a Devon river, the Tamerton stream, recover from serious pollution that wiped out the local fish population. This payment was accepted by the Environment Agency as an alternative to prosecution in order to bring benefit to urban watercourses in the Plymouth area, particularly NW Plymouth, a place of distinct communities where each neighbourhood and waterbody has its own character. This was the perfect opportunity to pilot River Keepers.

Beneath the everyday

For the first phase of this project, we developed a Story of Place–a look at what came before and what exists beneath the everyday experiences associated with living somewhere. Its purpose is to see a place in a different way, to reveal what’s hidden, to see the true value of this particular piece of Earth. We identified ‘network nodes’ to help us–those already working towards a similar goal in the area–and built relationships that will underpin actions beyond the life of the project. WRT is now monitoring streams at 11 locations across the river catchment alongside local people.

Why do this?

The more we value a place, the more we care about it. That starts with knowing, experiencing and understanding. The days of doing things ‘to’ a place or community are over. Now we work together ‘with’ places and communities.

Watch the short video of the process >

We work in and at the intersection of economy, ecology, learning, arts and culture and the gaps in between.