Eden is a unique and beautiful network of rivers, becks and lakes, stretching 80 miles from Hellgill Force to the Solway. Covering an impressive 850 square miles, it is the lifeblood of the area.
Many rivers have been straightened, but this isn’t good for wildlife. We want to return some of them to their natural state.
Natural rivers have bends called meanders and these create pools where large fish can live. Gravel bars form on the inside of the bends and are good for insects and plants. Shallow, stony areas called riffles develop in-between where smaller fish can hide. Tall flowers and trees, such as willow and alder grow on river banks. These provide a home for wildlife and stop river banks washing away.
Natural rivers also help slow the flow of water and can help reduce flooding. Meanders make the river longer and hold more water. Plants growing on the riverbed slow the speed of water flowing downstream towards towns. Natural floodplains allow the water to overflow after heavy rain, reducing the risk of flooding elsewhere.
Find out more about the natural river processes and features found in Eden’s rivers, plus features that were built by people in days gone by to manage the flow of water.