Scalby Beck Fish Pass

Over 100 years ago a channel was cut from the headwaters of the Derwent to Scalby Beck to redirect flood water into the North Sea. This beck falls steeply and a number of weirs were built to manage the energy of the floods. The Sea Cut has, when conditions are suitable, a run of salmon and sea trout. However, under certain conditions fish found it difficult to negotiate the weirs leaving them vulnerable to poaching and because of a lack of suitable spawning habitat fish would over cut previously spawned gravels.

Scalby Beck old fish passTen years ago the Environment Agency and Scalby Beck Angling Club constructed a wooden pool and traverse pass on the lowest weir, releasing fish from a pinch point at the tidal limit and opening up a larger area for spawning and juvenile recruitment.

The club wanted to replicate the success of their fish pass but financial support for such an innovative approach was difficult to come by, so the club approached the EYRT to undertake work on the next weir.


The angling club members felt this project was well within their skills base and they had the necessary Risk Assessments and PPE. All the plans were completed by an engineer and approved by the Local Council and Environment Agency. An Environmental Impact Assessment and technical assessment under Water Framework Directive were successfully completed.

Weir before fish pass

The new fish pass used locally sourced wood, expanding bolts and resigns to secure the brackets. The brackets are bespoke, being constructed by a local engineering works. All these plans are available to whoever is able to make use of them for further homemade fish easements.

Volunteers committed two full days of work making the most of the good weather window of opportunity. The first stage was to sand bag off an area of the weir to enable the team to work in relative dry conditions to mark the weir for drilling.


Fish pass stage 2The drilling was completed and the brackets were fitted and secured all in place. The photograph on the right shows the brackets in place on the weir awaiting the insertion of the timber to create the boxes and any slight adjustment.

The photograph below shows the opening up of the fish pass, 2 weeks later a large sea trout was seen in the bottom pool. This final stage was greeted with bright sun shine, a justifiable bathing in sun light after such a trying time for all who gave so much of their free time.


The project was two years in the planning and a few setbacks in regards to permissions had to be overcome. Scalby Beck Angling Club committed to the time frame and to the budget constraints which they successfully achieved. The whole project was priced at £9000 and came in on budget. A similar sized weir at Boston Spa on the River Wharfe had a fish pass built by the Environment Agency at a cost of £720,000. The hours recorded by the volunteers has run over 100 hours with some members undertaking work behind the scenes and so not all hours have been recorded. There has been a great deal of interest from locals who walk along this picturesque area and there has been a good deal of positive feedback.

EYRT Project Officers:

Alan Mullinger and John Shannon.


Final fish pass