Derwent Riverlands - behind the scenes

A timelapse shot showing a calm river flowing through woodlands in autumn colours

The river Derwent is a mountain river. It runs from Sprinkling Tarn in the high Lake District fells out to the sea at Workington. On the way it passes through Cumbrian towns and villages, farmland and woodland, peat bogs and dockyards. All of these make up the Derwent 'catchment' - the lands that the river flows through; The Derwent's 'riverlands'

It's home to otters, atlantic salmon and the UK's rarest freshwater fish, the vendace. But it's under pressure from climate change, pollution and man-made alterations to its course.

So, as part of a national programme to improve the health of rivers across England and Wales, we've launched the Derwent Riverlands project.

On this project timeline, we'll be posting regular updates of the work we're doing behind the scenes, so keep checking back in to stay up to date.

Latest updates

11 Jun 21

Plug planting on Armboth Fell

Volunteers recently joined our partners Cumbria Wildlife Trust on Armboth Fell for the final touches on the peat restoration works which took place earlier this year. Several thousand plugs of cotton grass were planted by hand across areas of exposed peat. This species is native to peatlands and wetlands and as the plants grow their root systems will help stabilise the restored areas and reduce erosion.

Volunteers plug planting on Armboth Fell

11 May 21

Making Hay Whilst the Sun Tries To Shine

A recent rainy afternoon was spent walking the fields at Dunthwaite looking at ways we can help improve the hay meadows at the site. There is already a thriving floodplain meadow alongside the River Derwent and we could potentially harvest seed or green hay from this location to improve the biodiversity of neighbouring fields.

Fields at Dunthwaite

29 Apr 21

Works complete at Armboth

Works have been completed on Armboth Fell, in partnership with Cumbria Wildlife Trust, United Utilities, Fix the Fells and Natural England. The works have seen an important area of peat restored, creating bunds to hold water back and create pools. Overtime, Sphagnum moss will dominate the area and new peat will begin to form. Access through the site has also been improved, where a flagged path has been laid to protect the restored area from trampling. The remaining work to fence off the area, to protect it from grazing animals, will be completed over the coming weeks.

A pool of water and flag footpath on the high fells above Borrowdale