St Bega’s Church, Bassenthwaite Lake

I was lucky enough to spend last week in the stunning Lake District and not surprisingly visits to rivers and lakes featured heavily during my trip.   I mainly work on lowland rivers and I really enjoy this work but I have to confess that for me upland rivers have the upper hand.

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Aira Force

The drama and force of these rivers, with their waterfalls and pools, is awe inspiring.

When restoring rivers the same principles apply whether you are working on a gently flowing chalk stream or a fast flowing beck. The power of upland rivers though is usually far greater and the stakes are much higher if mistakes are made.   I don’t think it is a coincidence that most experimental river restoration work is tested on low powered lowland rivers before the techniques are used on upland rivers as lowland rivers are usually much more forgiving of interventions.

The devastating floods in Cumbria in November 2009 demonstrated the force of the River Derwent after 372mm of rain fell in just two days.   The steep fells and narrow valleys had to cope with a staggering 200 million tonnes of water and lead to flood water depths of over 2 metres in some locations.

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