THE FISHERY AT RUSKIN MILL
Probably the only Biodynamic Fishery in the world, Ruskin mill took over a commercial trout fishery and now run it biodynamically and use it to teach skills at the college. As with everything at Ruskin Mill, there are corners here of beauty that make it unique. Whoever heard of a beautiful Fishery?:The beautiful ponds circulated with flowforms is what makes Ruskin Mill what it is.
There is the all encompassing roof seeded with soil and growing hair. A lone wooden sculpture of a heron with a couple of real ones standing hopefully around the fish ponds waiting for a break in the netting to steal a fish. Occasional kingfishers also flit in and out this landscape. There are otters and crayfish hiding in the shallows of the pure streams that feed the ponds. and many springs.
Then there is this exquisite totem pole made with wood carvings and copper mouldings.
This metal bridge is also unique. But best of all is the landscape. The various colours of dog wood show their colours when the leaves fall off in winter.
The water flows from a lake, held high by a bank, which then allows the water to flow through rapidly. There used to be a water wheel generating some electricity but this is no longer in use. The water is then aerated and regenerated through the ponds by flow forms, moving in step from pond to pond.
Once a week, brown indigenous trout are harvested for our Friday fish and chips and some are smoked at the smokery. Here some students and Aaron, the tutor are netting some fish in a similar way to the fishoek trek fishermen but on a smaller scale.
There is also a hatchery with thousands of baby fish waiting to enter the waters. It takes about 2 years before they are big enough to harvest.
Our responsibility, as volunteers, has been to clear neglected areas of reed and bramble. Here we are in waders setting out to clear the ponds.
We have also been dredging the silt from the stream that enters the ponds. Hidden is the reward of uncovering beautiful landscapes and these kinds of sculptures behind the reeds.
Aaron manages the fish farm, which is a big job to maintain.This is the hatchery where the eggs and sperm are milked and then fertilized. These are the thousands of baby trout that will be placed into the ponds as they mature.
The ponds are linked and are drained by pulling out a long pipe “plug” that drains at the top and filled by putting it in so that it continues to let the water move without letting the fish out. Its stops the ponds overflowing, as when the water reaches the top, it flows through without letting the fish out.
The ponds need mist nets to prevent the total plundering of the fish by all manner of birds and otters.
The water flows into a beautiful lake in front of the mill before flowing off into Nailsworth and beyond.