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

In 2019 we completed work on a significant hydropower project nestled in the heart of this valley. It now provides 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

Take a look at the project timeline below to find out how the hydro scheme was installed and more about the unique history of this valley. 

Latest updates

08 Jul 19

Leaving no trace

The Greenburn Valley Hydro is now fully installed, operational, commissioned, feeding into the grid, and under the full-time management of the ranger team. The scheme has already generated almost 200,000 kWh and the ever changing rain and dry spells, means output fluctuates over the course of the year. Thank you for following our hydro story and ongoing conservation work in Little Langdale.

South Lakes Greenburn Hydro finished no trace

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