Kick Sampling

We have been engaged in a kick sampling project on the Rivers Irwell, Roch and Irk and on Eagley Brook in Bolton since 2012, overseen  by Dr Adam Moolna 

Kick Sampling helps us determine the water quality in our rivers, and identify pollution incidents by monitoring the numbers and species of insects and invertebrates which live in the gravels of the river bed.

Once a month, at a predetermined site, using a special net held against the river bed, the kick sampler scuffs their feet on the river bed for three minutes and then counts and records the numbers and different species found in the net.

Kick Sample Bolton1 25.04.2015  kick sampler

Different species have  differing tolerances to pollution and by recording the presence or absence of pollution intolerant species such as stonefly larvae which only live in the cleanest of water – and pollution tolerant creatures such as the hog louse, we can determine if there are water quality issues which need investigation. Also a sudden drop in insect numbers we record will indicate to us that some sort of pollution event has taken place – which we can report to the Environment Agency for further investigation.

On the plus side for kick samplers – there is nothing more satisfying than being the first person to record a new bug at a recording site which shows that water quality is improving.


Stonefly Larvae

Hog Louse

Hog Louse







Its a great way to get to help determine the health of our local waterways.

We have been kick sampling at these locations in North Manchester for some years now, and have built up a great picture of how our waterways are functioning.

Kick Sample Locations

Dr Adam Moolna is currently looking to expand our network of kick sample locations to include the Mersey, Tame, Etherow, Goyt, Dane, Weaver and Gowy. We would love you to join us and take part in this great project which monitors water quality and river health in our region.

You don’t need to have a scientific back ground in order to be a kick sampler, though you do need to attend a one day “how to do it” course which costs £70pp which is available through the Trust. It’s a great fun way to actively involve yourself in the continuing re-generation of our local rivers.

If you would like to become part of our kick sampling team – please contact us via

We are have recently become the regional training hub for The River Fly Partnership – and are holding a series of training courses for people who want to learn how to kick sample.

8th October 2015  – course location Bury (full)

April 2016 – course location TBC

Kicksample2kick sampler