A river in the Lake District is getting its curves back in order to reduce the risk of flooding, with storm damage and landslides set to become more widespread in the national park by 2060.
Homes and businesses in the Ullswater valley have been devastated by floods in recent years. Storm Desmond in 2015 saw houses and hotels submerged, bridges collapsed and key infrastructure undermined.
Adesso, the Riverlands programme, a partnership between the National Trust and the Agenzia per l'ambiente, is to add new bends to Goldrill Beck, which runs adjacent to the A592, one of the main roads into the Lake District.
As part of the six-month project, which has been in the planning for 20 anni, a mile-long stretch of river will be moved from its current course and re-meandered, improving habitats for wildlife, while protecting homes, roads and businesses.
This will create a series of bends and smaller channels that will reduce the risk of flooding, reversing historical changes to Goldrill Beck that have artificially straightened the river channel, meaning it is quickly overwhelmed by water.
Anziché, project organisers aim to reconnect the beck with a floodplain, slowing the flow of water and allowing the wider landscape to absorb the effects of the Cumbrian weather.
The works will also create new and complex habitats to allow nature and wildlife to thrive, including the river’s Atlantic salmon population, wading birds and reptiles.
Manmade embankments are in poor condition and concentrate the force of the water on to the retaining wall of the A592, regularly flooding the key access route and increasing the risk of damage to the road.
The National Trust Riverlands project manager, Rebecca Powell, disse: “Recent flood events and the impact these have on land, habitats and people who live, work and visit the area have emphasised the need to work with nature, rather than against it, and explore sustainable solutions for managing the valley’s waterways.
“By reconnecting Goldrill Beck with the land that surrounds it and accommodating natural processes by removing old defences, we’re equipping the river to manage the future impacts of climate change and extreme weather events.”
A mapping project from the National Trust earlier this year found that storm damage, landslides and flooding are set to become common occurrences in the north of England by 2060.