Current Projects

Conserving Coniston & Crake

A Heritage Lottery Funded project which will help to protect, monitor and restore the freshwater environment of Coniston Water, the River Crake and the wider catchment area, through a programme of conservation, community engagement and education. The project will run between 2017 and 2020, with an ongoing legacy beyond this time period. It is a South Cumbria Rivers Trust project initiated and run by Coniston and Crake Catchment Partnership, click here to visit the project website.

Winster & Gilpin

We have started the first year of a 4 year project to assess the current status of the Winster and Gilpin catchments, identify opportunities to enhance and restore areas and where appropriate to implement restoration/remediation options to allow for recovery. This will all be closely linked with the community, working with landowners to identify opportunities, working with communities to undertake monitoring and develop options and running a number of events for schools, children and adults alike to get involved with the world of rivers.

The project will focus on the catchments of Winster and Gilpin, both catchments have sources near Bowness on Windermere and Crook, draining into the Kent Estuary. The rivers flow through predominantly fell land and rough grazing pasture, and the catchments are sparsely forested. Historic and current channel maintenance has resulted in sections of heavily modified river and a lack of habitat. This is particularly true for the Lyth Valley, in the lower Gilpin catchment. Within this area it is currently proposed to establish an Internal Drainage Board to maintain the watercourses. This therefore falls outside the scope of this project which will focus in the upper Gilpin catchment.

Map 1 – Winster and Gilpin waterbody catchments. Note the project will only focus on the upper Gilpin catchment >>>>

Environment Agency monitoring has shown a deterioration since 2015 in the classification of the River Winster under the Water Framework Directive. This Directive requires us to meet ‘Good’ ecological status under European Law by 2021. This decline has been attributed to poor dissolved oxygen concentrations. Similarly, the Gilpin is also failing to meet ‘Good’ Ecological status.

Table 1. Water body classification – River Winster

  2015 2016
Overall Water Body Good Moderate
Ecological Good Moderate
Chemical Good Good

Table 2. Water body classification – River Gilpin

  2015 2016
Overall Water Body Moderate Moderate
Ecological Moderate Moderate
Chemical Good Good


However, it’s not just Environment Agency data which shows us there has been deteriorations, residents of both valleys provide accounts of drastic reductions in fish densities.

What will we do?

In this initial year of the project we aim to undertake a data review and evidence gathering exercise. This will enable us to understand the current situation and provide a baseline for any future work. This includes:

  • Comparisons of local and national fish trends
  • Assessments of riparian shade density
  • Identification of barriers to fish migration
  • Analysis of existing monitoring data

We will also begin to undertake our own monitoring supported by volunteers, including fish and riverfly surveys, please see our monitoring section for more information.

This will then help us to identify opportunities for habitat improvement to really make a difference in the valleys. Possible options will include:

  • Establishing riparian buffer strips to reduce bank erosion and intercept surface run-off and silt
  • Installing large woody debris to create habitat diversity
  • Investigating options to remove or modify man-made barriers to fish migration
  • Tree planting in areas where canopy cover is limited to ‘keep rivers cool’ for fish

In support of all of this we are looking to make this a community project, working with local schools to run events and family days, and offering support to landowners to deliver some of these improvements. Some examples of the funding available for landowners are shown here:

If you would like to be involved with this project in any format please get in touch.

Kent Catchment Project

Development Stages

Our sister site, Becks to Bay, are working up a large-scale project for the whole of the Kent Catchment and we’d like your support, thoughts and ideas. The project is in it’s early stages and open to adaptation. We have a framework for what we would like to achieve however, this is where you come in, to expand and enhance what we have, adding in detail at a local scale.

The community are central to the project with support other local partners. The Kent Catchment Partnership is a local community group which will be vital in supporting and delivering many aspects of this, you can find out more about the group here including how to get involved.