Greenburn Hydro Project

A view down the Greenburn valley looking south east

Industrial heritage

From Stone Age axe factory to Victorian gunpowder works, the Langdale valleys have a rich industrial heritage, energised by water power as far back as the 15th century. The Greenburn valley is no exception. As a former copper mine, many features associated with its legacy are still in evidence and of much interest today. The remains of water sluices, leat systems and a waterwheel pit remain visible and the site is now a designated Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM). 

Green future

This summer we are starting work on a significant hydropower project nestled in the heart of this valley. When complete it will provide a robust renewable energy solution in a landscape where few other opportunities exist to bring in a guaranteed income 'stream' to support our future conservation work in Little Langdale.

Watch this space

Keep checking back below for regular updates from the project team on how the work is progressing and more about the unique history of this valley. We're looking forward to sharing this exciting project with you as each stage unfolds.

Latest updates

15 May 19

Branching out in Little Langdale

As part of the wider work in the valley, the rangers have been planting native trees, such as elm, oak and rowan. These species host the rare lichens, which can already be found in the valley and are suitable for pollarding, which maintains the historical management of trees in Little Langdale. The aim is to have a mixed age structure of trees in the valley, so the planting plan is a long term one.

National Trust rangers tree planting in Little Langdale

30 Apr 19

Waiting for the rain

In this dry, warm weather when water levels are low in the Greenburn Beck, the hydro automatically stops drawing water into the pipe down to the turbine, so it’s not currently generating any hydropower. This protects the aquatic life in the beck and ensures the river water levels remain stable. So we hate to say it but we’re looking forward to the next downpour to start generating again.

Greenburn beck with no water flowing into the intake due to low water levels in the river

04 Jan 19

Re-establishing roots

Our first tree planting event of the winter was with volunteers from the South Lakes Conservation Group. We spent the morning planting trees along one of the becks at High Birk Howe Farm. Historic maps from 1860 show that the stream was once lined with trees so this work will enhance both the historic and natural environment. Our team of volunteers planted 20 groups of trees in cages to give the trees some protection whilst they grow.

Tree planting in Little Langdale