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.

What Lies Beneath – helping your local beck

South Cumbria Rivers Trust is delighted to announce it has bagged £2000 from Tesco’s Bags of Help community grant scheme.  Millions of shoppers have voted in Tesco stores up and down the country and it can now be revealed South Cumbria Rivers Trust has been awarded £2000 for its ‘creating better environments’ project in the Barrow and Ulverston areas.

Bags of Help is run in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork, and sees grants raised from the sale of carrier bags awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. Since launching in 2015, it’s provided more than £40 million to over 9,700 local community projects.

Work will now begin on bringing the project to life.

Learn more about what’s in your local beck through community and school events, with opportunities to monitor and protect the health of your local beck.

The project will help local communities to engage with their area, through a ‘what’s in your river day, and training to monitor the health of a local river or beck. The riverfly initiative is a national programme which has been running for a number of years, including successfully in South Cumbria for over 8 years.Local communities are a vital part of this, we already work closely with a number of community members to monitor the catchments of South Cumbria. Riverfly monitoring is a simple yet repeatable way to assess water quality and detect any deterioration, which can then be acted upon. This project aims to build on this to engage new volunteers and audiences with the underwater environments of their local becks. It is also a chance for participants and new volunteers to meet new people, learn new skills and make a difference to the local area. Improvements to the local environment facilitate a greater enjoyment of the area by all and add to a sense of well-being.

The project will also look to engage with schools and local children to run a ‘what’s in your river day’ including a close up look at riverflies from live samples and footage collected during monitoring. There will be a number of other engagement tools run around the riverfly monitoring including ‘river-based’ art stalls.

The community is at the heart of what we do, they live, work and enjoy the area of South Cumbria. Although a spectacular landscape the area of South Cumbria isn’t always as healthy as we would like to think, and it is vital that we monitor the changes. Where necessary we then look to make improvements and enhance the area for future generations. This establishes community involvement, increases local understanding of the issues, and generates a sense of place.