A PROJECT to bring new life back to the River Monnow has won an award from the Wild Trout Conservation Trust.

The project is funded with £1 million from Defra and £400,000 raised locally is aimed at returning the river to its former glory.

In the past three-and-half years, 40 miles of river bank has been fenced to keep grazing animals away and trees coppiced to increase sunlight.

"Animals grazing on the banks causes erosion that means when the river floods, it is washed onto the gravel beds which stops the trout from breeding," said Tony Carter, project treasurer.

The initiative has also involved the reintroduction of the endangered water vole to the River Monnow and its tributaries.

"We have made progress on the River Dore. The water vole population has been seriously threatened with predation by the American Mink that escaped from captivity into the wild," added Tony.

Elaborate traps are used to capture the mink that are then humanely destroyed allowing the vole population to recover.