CHILDREN in Spennymoor are soaking up tales of the riverbank in a wildlife project which aims to educate them about a waterway that flows through the town.

Pupils at five schools in the area are working with Durham Wildlife Trust on the project, which is being funded with £5,000 from Spennymoor Area Action Partnership.

They are getting hands-on lessons by visiting the Valley Burn to discover the course it follows to the River Wear, the wildlife that inhabits its water and banks and how people have impacted on its condition.

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Pupils from St Charles Primary School explored the burn this week and found leeches, snails, water spiders, shrimps and mayfly larvae among the creatures that live there.

They found out it was slightly polluted and were reminded of a previous project they took part in to ensure only rain goes down the drain rather than pollutants such as detergent used to wash cars.

They also watched wildlife documentaries to pick up tips on how to write scripts and present a show before recording their own films for later use in school.

Community education officer Kirsty Pollard said: “They all loved splashing about in the river and they drew maps of the burn and pictures of what they saw, wrote scripts and filmed documentaries so there was something for everyone to get into."

The project coincides with work by the wildlife charity’s living waterways team to tidy up and promote the Valley Burn and raise awareness of the need to protect the environment.