Elterwater is a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI), formed from three connected basins (inner, middle and outer basin) and fed by both the Great Langdale Beck and Little Langdale Beck. It is situated just outside the small village of Elterwater in the Langdale Valley in South Cumbria.
Elterwater has unfortunately been badly affected by historical pollution. Here at SCRT we have been working with environmental partners for a number of years now to help improve water quality and biodiversity of the area. You can find out more information about our efforts to restore Elterwater here: Elterwater Remediation project
Our reconnection proposal
SCRT are currently working up a proposal to reconnect Great Langdale Beck back into Middle basin of Elterwater. Sometime between 1920 & 1956 the beck was diverted from middle basin into a straightened channel to flow directly into outer basin. Our aim is to reconnect it back to its old channel through a shallow scrape, approximately 3m wide by 0.5m deep, through local woodland. The beck does in fact currently use this route during high flows, as it wants to naturally flow there. Our aim is to formalise this route and allow the new channel to naturally evolve over time. Habitat work and invasive species control will also be undertaken to enhance this area and the lake edge for wildlife – the reason for it’s SSSI status are its lake edge vegetation communities.
Why do this?
Because the river was diverted and straightened, it is showing signs of rapid hydro-geomorphological change. In simple terms, the river’s energy is working to return it to its previous path and causing gravel build up. If left to continue without intervention, it will if not already; • Cause damage to the footpath • Cause a lack of in-channel variability • Cause a lack of fish refuge and biodiversity • Cause clean well-oxygenated water to by-pass the Elterwater system
Middle Basin currently has high nutrient levels. This causes a number of issues, including algal blooms. This ‘new’ channel will allow for more oxygenated water to enter Middle Basin, which will help improve the water quality over time.
In developing these proposals, we have worked collaboratively with the Environment Agency, Natural England and National Trust. The project has been designed to enhance environmental benefit without risk of flooding, changes to water levels or risk to public amenities. Please feel free to take a look at our proposal in more detail:
UPDATE: 06th July 2021
The Elterwater reconnection proposal is now live on the Lake District National Park planning portal. The planning reference number is 7/2021/5388.
We will be keeping this web page up to date with relevant information so please keep an eye out for further updates.
If you have any questions about the proposal, you can contact us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org