The River Brun has been flowing here for many hundreds of years and gives Burnley or Brun Lea its name.
An early settlement of people near St Peters Church was called Brun Lea meaning ‘field on the banks of the brown river’. That settlement, now Burnley, has grown into a large town with around 74,000 people. The river continues to flow through but as the town developed the river was run through pipes and drains under the roads and buildings.
The River Brun has fresh running water and is a notable contrast to the relatively still waters of the canal. The river provides diverse habitats attracting a variety of wildlife including otter, wild brown trout and eels. The Ribble Rivers Trust continues to work to improve the rivers potential as a valuable wildlife corridor and installed a series of step-up weirs to enable migrating fish and eels to pass through and complete their journeys.
The canal needs the river to ensure its water levels remain steady. Have you ever wondered what happens to all the rain we get and why the canal doesn’t flood? Following heavy rainfall the canal ‘overflows’ into the river network. This overflow of water creates a ‘waterfall’ down the canal embankment, which then flows into the River Brun.
The otter is a protected species in Britain because their numbers have declined dramatically. However there are signs that otters are repopulating the River Brun. They hunt fish, their main food, underwater and rely on a healthy supply for their survival. The otter is most active at night and they enjoy sun bathing on riverbanks during the day.
Last date edited: 21 July 2015