At the end of the last ice age, more than 10,000 years ago, a series of brooks flowing westwards to the River Ribble were formed. From south to north, these are:
The Syke, now culverted under Syke Street and Winckley Square.
Moor Brook, now culverted, near the Moorbrook pub.
Eaves Brook, beside the allotments between Blackpool Road and Victoria Road.
Savick Brook, running through our wood.
An un-named brook between Greystock Avenue and Yewlands Avenue
Sharoe Brook, between Brookside Road and Ashwood Road.
These brooks still form the basic geography of Preston. If you cycle along Garstang Road today you can feel the road dip down to the last five of them.
Our Savick Brook starts out near Longridge and flows to Haslam Park, where it becomes the Millennium Link canal down to the River Ribble.
Lowland streams naturally meander because bank erosion is faster on the outside of bends than on the inside. At the beginning of the 19th Century Savick Brook meandered though farmland. The red line on the map shows its course in about 1840. When Highgate Park was built the brook was straightened and the blue line shows how it was in about 1890. Since then, the brook has broken free of its training walls in some places and is starting to establish a new meandering route.
Meanders increase the biodiversity of the brook because they form diverse habitats. In particular, gravel beds can form on the inside of bends, and these are good place for fish to spawn. The brook is now home to small brown trout, minnows and sticklebacks, encouraging frequent visits from kingfishers, herons and otters.
Meanders also slow the flow of the water, so reducing downstream flooding.
Where the brook threatens to undermine an established path in Highgate Wood we have occasionally reinforced the bank to prevent further erosion, but generally we allow the erosion to continue and move the path if necessary. We hope that in 200 years or so Savick Brook will again meander gently through the wood.