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Recent events round up

From community picnics to screenings, here are a few of the events we've been part of recently.

2023 River Festival

Summer 2023 saw us, plus all sorts of other watery organisations, return to Rodden Meadow. We had representatives from Wessex Water, the Environment Agency, Heal Rewilding, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Frome Anglers – all with their own stands. We also welcomed Frome Extinction Rebellion who had interesting debates with many of the organisations.

A fascinating and productive day where we built connections as well as discussing river issues with everyone who came down to visit. And of course it wouldn't be a river festival without a little dipping. Lots of people who came and had a chat were amazed at just how much life is in our river, despite its struggles.

Just a few of the stands in the meadow.

2021 Rivercide Screening

In November 2021 we teamed up with Frome Town Council to put on a special screening of Rivercide, a ground-breaking investigative documentary exploring the shocking state of UK rivers.

Presented by George Monbiot and featuring music by Charlotte Church, it asks tough questions about how once pristine river systems have been turned into sewers, and considers how we revive our poor waterways.

The screening was followed by a (virtual) appearance from Franny Armstrong, director of the film, and a panel discussion featuring guests from Wessex Water, Bristol Avon Rivers Trust, the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West and representatives from the local farming and fishing communities.

2021 Rodden Meadow picnic

We welcomed lots of people to the Friends of the River Frome stand at the Rodden Meadow picnic in 2021. The rain held off (just!), the musicians played, and kids and adults alike got up close and personal with the river Frome and its inhabitants. Our stand featured hand-crafted bird boxes, a stuffed otter, lots of brilliant wildlife photos and of course trays of critters fresh from the water.

What’s in the water?

The brilliant Jess, an aquatic ecologist from the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust, was on hand with nets, trays, guides and expertise to help us discover what lies beneath the surface of the Frome.

River enthusiasts of all ages wriggled into their waders to go river dipping – where you take a quick dip in the river to see what creatures you can find. We did kick tests – you hold your net just behind your foot, kick the river bed and any wildlife should shoot into the net to be examined – to see what critters were lurking under the surface.

Jess from Bristol Avon Rivers Trust demonstrates how to do a kick test.

River dipping and kick tests help us judge the health of the river. What we want to see is a good amount of riverflies – these flies are vital for healthy ecosystems and if their populations dip then it could indicate pollution or other environmental problems.

Lots found its way into the nets including little shrimp, fish and different riverflies, including mayfly larvae (a great sign of a healthy river). But sadly there were also lots of signal crayfish, an invasive species which damage river banks and eat native species. Good food for otters (and us!) but not so good for the river.

Thank you!

Thanks to the Frome Festival organisers for putting on a great day and to Jess from BART for helping us all get to know the river (and to Banger the dog for his diligent retrieval of stones and sticks). And a very big thanks to everyone who came along, jumped into (sometimes damp) waders and chatted about the river.


It’s only together that we can improve and protect the river Frome and your support makes all the difference. A huge thank you to every one who has come to our recent events, or helped organise them. And remember if you want to support more events like this and other citizen science projects you can become an official friend of the river Frome for just £15 a year.


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