Glenderamackin catchment project

Background:

The Glenderamackin catchment covers the watercourses upstream of Keswick that join to form the River Greta. The catchment is steep and mountainous and part of the Lake District National Park, covering 100 km².

Due to its position in the landscape, Keswick town has a long history of flooding. Land use changes, agricultural drainage and an increase in extreme rainfall events contribute to an increasing flood risk in Keswick and devastating floods have occurred in 2005, 2009 and most recently in 2015, when over 515 properties were flooded.  In 2012, a £6 million flood defence scheme was completed, led by the Environment Agency, to protect 180.Because of the investment in Keswick in recent years, appraisals in 2018 have concluded that it is not currently viable to construct further flood defences through the town.

Managing the landscape to allow it to store and slow flood water could help to reduce flood risk to Keswick. Measures such as peat restoration, tree planting and water storage areas could also provide habitat for a wider range of species, improve water quality and help to manage the large volumes of gravel that get washed downstream during floods. The landscape is dominated by farming and any changes should also improve the sustainability of the farm business.

The working group:

No single organisation can work over such a large catchment on many different habitat types and objectives. A working group has been established to share resources and expertise to work towards the best all round outcome for the Glenderamackin catchment. Currently the following organisations are represented on the working group:

  • West Cumbria Rivers Trust (Chair)
  • Cumbria County Council
  • Environment Agency
  • National Trust
  • Woodland Trust
  • Farmer Network
  • Natural England
  • Forestry Commission
  • Lake District National Park Authority
  • Cumbria Wildlife Trust
  • Cumbria Woodlands
  • Keswick Flood Action Group and local community representation

 

What’s happened so far?

The Farmer Network host a facilitated farmer group which brings together local farmers and landowners to share ideas about sustainable catchment management including natural flood management measures.

Funding has been secured through the DEFRA natural flood management program for this catchment, to implement measures to store and slow water in the landscape and monitor how well they perform. Further funding has been secured through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development Water Environment Grant to focus on improving water quality and habitat diversity. West Cumbria Rivers Trust are leading this catchment project with support from partner organisations. 

Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Eycott Hill nature reserve has already implemented measures to ‘slow the flow’ and increase habitat diversity and this will be extended as part of the funded Glenderamackin project.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust have also undertaken restoration of degraded peat on Matterdale Common and have aspirations to restore peat in other areas within the catchment. Likewise, the Woodland Trust have completed some large scale planting schemes but there is scope for a lot more woodland creation. The working group will meet regularly to update on the progress of all of these projects and ensure that there is a joined up approach.

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