Farming is a key part of the economic, social and cultural identity of the Eden with 95% of the land devoted to agriculture.

With approximately 2000 farms in the Eden, many areas suffer from damage to the riverbank due to uncontrolled access by livestock.
This leads to reduced water quality, putting wildlife habitats at risk and potentially increasing the cost of cleaning drinking water. Sediment and soil build up in the river, nutrients running into the river and sewage from urban and rural properties also affect the river.

Working with local farmers

We work closely with farmers in the Eden catchment to address these issues by finding water friendly farming solutions that allow them to produce food profitably whilst protecting our rivers and water supplies for wildlife and people living in the valley and beyond.

This involves developing whole farm plans with farmers, including:

  • - Evaluation of nutrient applications to optimise their input into the land (reducing wastage and cost),
  • - Soil conservation management to reduce the amount of fine sediment entering the river, and
  • - Assessment of grey water and waste management systems.


Quite often, relatively inexpensive measures such as putting up fencing near the riverbank can have the biggest impact on improving the water quality.


Interested in finding out how your farm could become more water friendly?

Get in touch with us to find out more information and get advice on catchment sensitive farming:

Andy Dyer (Senior Farming and Conservation officer)

Sarah Kidd (Farming and Conservation Coordinator),


Sources of information

Read our introduction to Water Friendly Farming (download PDF at bottom of page)

Sign up to the Farming Advice Service newsletter

Watch the video (at top of page) about projects with farmers on the River Petteril

We work with a number of partners on water friendly farming initiatives. Visit their websites for information about any help and support that may be available to help you carry out work on your farm.

Natural England

Environment Agency

Forestry Commission

Woodland Trust (tree planting)