Access Arrangement Greta & Middle Derwent
British Canoeing is happy to endorse this latest review of the Access Arrangement for the River Greta and Middle River Derwent in Cumbria. No changes have been made regarding access but we have asked the West Cumbria Rivers Trust and Environment Agency to update the environmental
information contained in the arrangement and include their comments.
British Canoeing advises that the decision whether or not to paddle is the responsibility of individual paddlers and that access to or from the river is possible either by using public rights of way or where permission to cross private land has been agreed with the landowner.
Particular regard should be given to environmental conditions (especially during the months of November and December – see below), Always consider other users and factors as highlighted in the British Canoeing leaflet “You, your canoe and the environment”.
The following notes only refer to access and egress points and environmental matters; please check other sources for information regarding the grade (difficulty) of these rivers, their features and hazards on the various sections.
The Access Arrangement
The Derwent and Greta river system is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and this arrangement aims to conserve and protect the environment and its wildlife whilst taking account of seasonal changes and supporting responsible canoe access:
Threlkeld Bridge (NY 315247), Fitz Park (NY 267237), Pencil Mill (NY 263239), Portinscale footbridge (NY 253238) and Low Stock Bridge (NY 236268, egress only)
There is no public access at High Stock Bridge (NY 243260). Please respect the landowner’s wishes and do not attempt to access or egress the river here.
If you intend to continue onto Bassenthwaite Lake then the Lake District National Park Authority require you to obtain a permit prior to doing so in order to better
manage the National Nature Reserve; click here for lots more information.
Also note that the Middle Derwent may be accessed by launching at publicly accessible points or marinas (with permission) on Derwentwater; Kettlewell carpark
(NY 267195) and Derwentwater Marina (NY 254230) for example or even from the Upper Derwent.
Review of Agreement / Issues
This agreement will be reviewed periodically and any issues or problems should be raised with British Canoeing Regional Waterways Advisor at: email@example.com
Invasive Non Native Species (INNS)
Non-native Signal Crayfish are present in low numbers in St John’s Beck and the River Greta. These crayfish carry crayfish plague, a fungal disease fatal to our endangered native crayfish that can easily be transported between rivers on wet clothing and equipment.
Other rivers in Cumbria hold some of the country’s largest remaining native crayfish populations so it’s crucial that canoeists clean their equipment whenever moving between river catchments.
Since this arrangement was first drawn up new invasive species such as the Killer shrimp and Quagga mussel have reached Britain and spread between rivers to the detriment of native wildlife. These species are not yet present in Cumbria and
canoeists, anglers and all river users can help keep them out by always following simple biosecurity precautions – “Check, Clean & Dry” all kit - before arriving at a river. For more useful information and advice from the UK Non-Native Species Secretariat, please click here.
Salmon and Sea Trout Conservation
These fish species are in decline on the Greta and Derwent Systems as in many other parts of the U.K. The Derwent and Greta rivers and their tributaries are key spawning and nursery areas for these fish and essential to their survival. The Environment Agency, West Cumbria Rivers Trust, Keswick Anglers and other conservation bodies are working together to improve habitat (e.g. prevention of bank erosion and avoidance of silting of gravels).
Paddlers can help by minimising disturbance of river gravels by gliding rather than paddling through shallows and particularly by avoiding walking or wading in or otherwise disturbing the ends of pools as this is where fish lay their eggs (November - April).
By observing and adhering to this agreement and adopting biosecurity measures, canoeists are able to contribute to improving ecological integrity and enhancing biodiversity in the area.
The River Derwent and its tributaries form one of the finest large river systems in Europe. The quality and importance of the wildlife and habitats along the river is widely recognised and they are protected under European law as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Nationally rare fish and water plants are found in the waters and the lack of pollution means that mosses and lichens are abundant. The fish populations are particularly special, including salmon and all three species of lamprey. Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake contain populations of vendace, a rare fish found nowhere else. Otters are also found in the catchment and many birds nest and over-winter on the rivers and lakes.
As with all other people, individuals and groups of canoeists are fortunate to use and enjoy this beautiful area. When on the river, please enjoy the environment and be respectful of all plants and wildlife.
Take responsibility for your actions and care for the environment
Environment Agency river levels website in relation to Greta spate levels
The river Greta normally reaches the marker on Threlkeld Bridge when the current level on the Environment Agency river levels web site for Low Briery is at +1.1m and the river is either steady or rising on the EA graph. In normal flow conditions the data is only updated twice a day (more regularly once a high flow threshold has been passed) and so it is important when using the EA web site to check how old the data is and if the level is rising or stable in deciding whether to travel to the Greta.
The Environment Agency hydrograph for Low Briery can be seen by clicking here.
We hope that you enjoy paddling on these fabulous rivers. Please be ambassadors for our sport and don't give any cause for others to legitimately criticise our behavior either on or off the water.
Many thanks to Keswick Anglers, British Canoeing, Calvert Trust, Environment Agency, Lake District National Park, National Trust, Natural England and West Cumbria Rivers Trust who helped put this arrangement together.
Please contact your British Canoeing Cumbria Regional Waterways Advisor for further information, to report obstructions on the river or any other issues: firstname.lastname@example.org