Bowston Weir on the River Kent, Largest Weir in UK Removed to Restore River

Cumbria and Lancashire river restoration strategy

Addresses physical modification, barriers to fish and wildlife and flood risk.

The image shows Bowston Weir on the River Kent surrounded by trees and vegetation and how the weir causes a large difference in river height.

Bowston Weir, River Kent – impassable to fish. Credit South Cumbria Rivers Trust

This multi award-winning Cumbria river restoration programme is a three-way partnership involving the West Cumbria Rivers Trust, Eden Rivers Trust, South Cumbria Rivers Trust, local communities, Natural England, Environment Agency and other groups. They are enhancing and restoring rivers and floodplains in designated areas at three Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Special Areas of Conservation catchments in Cumbria. This partnership is achieving innovative river restoration by improving our environment and reducing flood risk for people and wildlife.

Since 2009, over 100 projects have been completed. There is still much to do – support is continuing with projects across all three catchments, including:

  • Bowston weir removal – the largest weir ever removed in the UK
  • Grisedale restoration in Glenridding, a community devastated by Storm Desmond in December 2015
  • the Environment Agency is working with the North West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee and catchment partnerships exploring opportunities for natural flood management and more projects resulting in multiple benefits

Source: Environment Agency 23rd October 2021