About the Dreel Burn

About the Dreel Burn

The Dreel Burn is the principal stream of the East Neuk of Fife; it is 11.8km in length and is tidal at its lowest reaches, alongside Dreel Halls in Anstruther. It carries water from the watershed out to the Forth Estuary: its beaches, and shellfish and fishing grounds.

The Dreel Burn was once renowned for its kingfishers, its little fish and as the silver thread which binds the beggar’s mantle to the golden fringe of the East Neuk coast. Over the years the water quality has deteriorated, its biodiversity diminished, and the silver thread has become at times a brown and nearly lifeless ditch.

Restoration of nature is needed to address the issues of a continuing climate crisis and a national decline in biodiversity.  Since 1994, Scotland has seen a 24% decline in the average abundance of many terrestrial and freshwater species.

Work on the Dreel Burn will help deliver national objectives in the fight against biodiversity loss and climate change. It will look to reverse this damage through carbon sequestration, natural flood management and creation of new habitats which have been in decline for decades.

Until recently, the Dreel Burn catchment area had not been monitored or studied with detailed analysis. 

A Dreel Burn walkover in August 2019 identified and documented initial areas of concern along its length: discolouration, septic tank issues, major barriers to fish passages, culverted ford crossings, sediment sources and deposits, source point pollution, abstraction, soil and nutrient runoff, invasive plant species, landfill leaching.

Anstruther harbour after Storm Babet

After medium and heavy rain the burn flows with silt run-off, depleting the catchment farmland, damaging the important coastal shellfish breeding grounds and affecting the bathing quality of the sea. This can be seen in the aerial photograph of Anstruther harbour after Storm Babet.

In July 2022 an investigative report was produced by Ewan Malecki of Forth Rivers Trust, highlighting some of the issues our project aims to tackle. 

The report can be viewed here with a story map version here.

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