A waterfall at Stickle Ghyll, Cumbria

Harnessing the power of water can be traced back to 200 BC. Hydropower has not only shaped our industrial past it also has a key role to play in building a greener future.

Listen to our podcast and meet the innovators of days gone by whose ingenuity is still helping us reduce our carbon footprint by making the places in our care more sustainable. We've also got lots of tips you can try at home to save water and live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Following 20 per cent energy savings we aim to generate the equivalent of 50 per cent of our remaining 2008 energy use from renewable sources by 2022, and hydropower is helping us to achieve this.

  • Hydropower already generates a total of 299,382 kilowatt hours for 10 of the places in our care.
  • A further 10 National Trust places sell the energy generated by their hydropower systems to the National Grid, bringing the total up to 4,132,823 kilowatt hours of energy produced.
  • The money raised helps us continue vital conservation work and look after these special landscapes for future generations.  
Listen to our podcast on hydropower

The podcast was made possible thanks to the support of BMW i, the brand behind the state-of-the-art BMW i3. Our partnership with BMW i allowed us to expand our network of electric vehicle charging points and by investing in groundbreaking projects at National Trust places, the partnership brought us closer to our renewable energy ambitions.

Cragside became Britain's first hydro-powered home in 1878

Britain's first smart home 

This episode explores the exciting capabilities of hydropower, an age-old technology that first used water to power mills and machinery hundreds of years ago. We shed light on how forward-thinking inventor Lord William Armstrong made his Northumberland-home Cragside into Britain's first hydro-powered home in 1878. Discover how an upgrade of the original hydro system is powering the estate into the future.

Episode 1: Britain's first smart home

Play now

Hydro power at Hafod Y Llan

Did you know?

The energy generated by hydropower systems is measured in KWhs (kilowatt hours). A kilowatt (kw) is 1,000 watts, so a 1KWh hydro scheme produces 1,000kws in an hour, which is enough to power 66 LED light bulbs. But our scheme at Hafod y Llan is so powerful that it creates enough energy in an hour to power 6,666 light bulbs.

Hydropower at the places we care for
Doing your bit

A large-scale hydropower project is still out of reach for most of us, so we've come up with some other ways that you can channel the power of water.