We walked by the Hoff Beck today. It is dropping away now after, not surprisingly, being in flood; though with more heavy rain expected tomorrow… It was really spring-like out there; cool air, but the sun felt wonderful on our faces. No silt up here, with the blast of water this winter carrying it all away, along with a lot of the farm-damaged banks. There is, however, water crowfoot in abundance, as you can see from the photo. Last year there were a lot of generally large (30cm+) wild trout in this beck, and even grayling, almost as far upstream as Rutter falls, where this photo was taken. With the collapse in grayling population on the Eden, I doubt that we will find this species in the beck this year, although I am very hopeful for the trout.
The water crowfoot helps the river in so many ways. It stabilises the substrate, absorbs a lot of the run-off nitrate, which would otherwise fuel an algal bloom, and provides a purchase for all manner of invertebrates. It is also cover for the trout and, in times of drought will substantially ‘hold-up’ the water in channels and small pools, providing invaluable habitat for the river wildlife. This protected species is making a rapid come-back on this beck, which is recovering after decades of agricultural abuse.