Mission Statement

West Cumbria Rivers Trust strives to restore and enhance the value of rivers, lakes, estuaries and surrounding countryside throughout West Cumbria for the benefit of people and wildlife.


  • To restore and enhance the diversity, abundance and sustainability of native flora and fauna in our rivers and lakes
  • To improve the water quality of our rivers and lakes for all through scientific knowledge where feasible
  • To engage new audiences and communities in a wide ranging education programme and informative events and activities


  • To initiate projects and work to improve the quality of rivers, lakes and the surrounding countryside
  • To successfully engage with a wide range of partners and stakeholders and work with others to identify the most appropriate organisations to lead individual projects
  • To Monitor and evaluate all of the work carried out by the trust and its partners
  • To provide educational and volunteering opportunities and facilitate interaction and communication between organisations and the community
  • To create good quality employment opportunities to deliver the trusts work
  • To work in an efficient and co-ordinated way to improve delivery
  • To promote responsible tourism

What we do and Why:

A large number of issues affect our freshwater environments from pollution to habitat modification, invasive species and flooding. Click here to find out more about them.

We use the techniques below to address these issues:

  • Fencing
  • Fish easement and eel passes
  • Fish and habitat surveys
  • Improve in-river habitat
  • Natural flood management
  • Invasive non-native species control
  • River bank stabilisation
  • Tree management and tree planting
  • Land management and soil advice

Tap image below to view more.

Meet the Team

The West Cumbria Rivers Trust team are a dedicated bunch of environmental professionals from varied backgrounds. We are all passionate and enthusiastic about our work to improve and protect the varied watery landscapes and ecosystems within central and western Cumbria.

Ian Creighton

Ian is our River Restoration Project Manager and technical specialist. He previously worked for Environment Agency (and its predecessor) for over 16 years and this included spells in fisheries, water resources and pollution control. He is passionate about Cumbria and improving our rivers for fish and a myriad of other species, both plants and animals. He lives in Keswick.


Karin Crofts

Karin tackles the important task of trying to stop the introduction and spread of invasive species in the Trust area. Karin previously worked for the Environment Agency and then as a project officer for Bassenthwaite Reflections, where she managed 4 projects and led on communications and community engagement. More recently she worked in the Caribbean for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust where she focused on the removal of non-native species and monitoring of endangered species.

In her spare time Karin likes to play outdoors and eat cake.


Diane OLeary

Diane O’Leary manages our fascinating ‘Pearls in Peril’ Project. The freshwater pearl mussel is a critically endangered species and this project aims to secure the future of the freshwater pearl mussel population in Great Britain. Diane has previously worked as an Environmental Adviser for the MOD, advising on the sustainable management of Training Areas across the UK.


Philippa Chadwick

Phil is the Assistant Project Officer on the Pearls in Peril Project, undertaking monitoring and delivering an education package about the critically endangered freshwater pearl mussel.

Phil has a background in conservation, including working for the Forestry Commission and the National Trust. She is excited to be back in her native west Cumbria and is keen to get out and tell people about all things mussels! In her spare time you’ll find her helping on the family farm or playing rugby!


Chris West

Chris is the River Irt Project Officer, working to improve the habitat for the freshwater pearl mussel in the catchment. Chris has a farming background in Cumbria, formerly working for Eden Rivers Trust. Spare time is spent on the farm and walking when possible.


Ruth Mackay

Ruth is a Project Officer, running several projects including the Derwent electrofishing programme and a Catchment Sensitive Farming project. She lives on the West Coast of Cumbria in Whitehaven. A keen geographer she has a BSc in Physical Geography and an MSc in Polar and Alpine Change. Throughout her degrees she studied a range of topics but with a particular focus on geomorphology. She is looking forward to gaining experience through working with us.

In her spare time Ruth volunteers as a Leader for Girlguiding Cumbria North, loves to read and spend time knitting, sewing, gardening, cycling and walking.


Rebecca Neal

Becca is our Education and Outreach Officer inspiring schools and community groups throughout the area. Becca has got over-excited by nature for several different conservation organisations including the RSPB and the FCS and her most recent job involved working with disadvantaged young people outdoors for Froglife. Many years ago she worked in Guyana and once swam with piranhas, but survived all toes intact! Her favourite river animal is a kingfisher and she loves to write, sing and eat cake.


Josh Gittins

Josh is a PhD student at Lancaster University who’s project is supported by the Trust. His project focuses on the effects of installing sustainable agricultural measures within the Ellenwise catchment to improve river water quality; management of the interventions is lead by Jonny Kidd.

Born in South Wales, Josh studied his undergraduate and masters degrees at Plymouth University before working as an environmental consultant in the Middle East. His focuses have been on freshwater ecosystem services and how to improve and utilise them.

In his spare time he enjoys rugby and generally anything that keeps him active!

Caitlin Pearson

Caitlin joined the Trust in May 2017 as Catchment Officer, working on our Catchment Partnerships and action plans. Caitlin previously worked as a Project Officer for the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust after finishing her PhD on the effects of farming on stream invertebrates. She completed her BSc and a Masters on native crayfish at Durham University. In between her studies she has worked with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and as an outdoor education tutor.

Caitlin feels very lucky to have moved to Cumbria and is looking forward to spending lots of time fell running, cycling and swimming in the lakes!


Katie Milburn

Katie joined us to look after our newest catchment acquisition - the Waver & Wampool; undertaking walkover surveys and habitat improvements across the catchment. Katie studied BSc Geography at Sheffield University and went on to gain an MSc in Conservation & Land Management from Bangor University. Katie previously worked for Lancashire and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trusts, RSPB Scotland and Worcester University.

Katie enjoys spending time in the fells - walking, running and cycling; she also loves contemporary crafts and weeding at her allotment.


Jonny Kidd

Jonny is our Ellenwise Project Officer. He grew up on a working farm in the Eden Valley and then moved to the north-east to study a BSc in Environmental Science and a Ph.D looking at the effects of long-term fertilisation on soil carbon.

Jonny is delighted to be working in a passionate and successful team and is looking forward to working closely with farmers and landowners to enhance the water environment in the Crookhurst catchment.

As a keen cricketer, Jonny plays regularly for his local team in the summer. He also enjoys road cycling and walking in the Lake District fells.


This could be YOU

We are looking for a volunteer to assist our team of project officers with office administration and delivery of projects. If you are interested then please get in touch T: 017687 75429, E: info@westcumbriariverstrust.org.


Jodie Mills - Trust Director

Jodie, our Trust Director, started with us in November 2014 following a four year conservation adventure on St Helena in the South Atlantic. Originally from North Yorkshire, she can’t believe her luck at taking on this job with such a wonderful team and in such a fantastic location. Jodie has worked in many parts of the UK and for a number of organisations such as the Wildlife Trust and National Trust and a number of small charities as well as County Councils. Jodie hopes to help the Trust deliver all its objectives over the coming years, particularly in engaging with the community and education.

Vikki Salas - Assistant Director

Together with assisting Jodie with the running of the Trust, Vikki also manages our Catchment Partnerships and the Loweswater Care Programme. Vikki was born and bred in Keswick and is pleased to be back living and working in her home town. Vikki previously worked for a number of years as an ecological consultant in Leeds.

In her spare time Vikki enjoys walking on the fells and generally being outside!


Luke Bryant - Assistant Director

Luke joined us in December 2017 as the new Assistant Director, overseeing the river restoration programme. Previously working for an environmental contractor and with a background in environmental restoration and outdoor education, he is thrilled to be working with such an effective team.

Having lived in Cumbria for 13 years Luke is passionate about the natural environment and, when not working, enjoys travelling to visit friends and family, as well as canoeing, fishing and walking with his young family and Labrador, Benny.


West Cumbria Rivers Trust's members and trustees are made up of a healthy cocktail of leading West Cumbrian businessman, environmental professionals and representatives of the public sector and wider community.

We believe the board has the necessary business expertise and nous to manage a modern public benefit orientated charitable trust.

Leslie Webb

Leslie is a (nearly) retired chemist who has been close to water for most of his professional life. For the last 20 years or so, he has worked as an independent Consultant specialising in the chemical and environmental aspects of papermaking, in which water is easily the largest raw material.

He moved to West Cumbria in 2006 and got involved in the Loweswater Care Project (LCP) which was looking into some of the scientific and social aspects of life in and around the lake. As part of this, he did a small study, which happened to pick up various strands of his career, on the use of detergents and the operation of septic tanks in the Loweswater catchment.

John Malley

John Malley is Water Advisor to the National Trust and is responsible for ensuring that the Trust has the necessary support, knowledge and expertise in all aspects of the use and management of water. This role also provides opportunities for the Trust to demonstrate externally its expertise in water and natural resource management. In particular practical delivery on catchment scale approaches that deliver environmental, social and economic benefits via partnerships and sharing expertise to profile with existing and new audiences.

David Magrath

Dave is, first and foremost, fascinated with all things water and rivers, what swims and lives in it, what surrounds it and, what effects its health and wellbeing. He is also a keen angler which periodically allows him to spend time on the river bank putting theory into practice.

In the professional area of his life Dave is the Head of Commercial for Sellafield Ltd. He has worked in the nuclear industry supply chain in a senior role for more than 25 years, primarily at Sellafield but also across other UK nuclear sites. The majority of this time has been spent leading supply chain strategic programmes focussed on “whole Life” acquisition cost as well as a broad commercial management role.

Dave brings drive and enthusiasm to the dealings of the Trust as well as strong commercial acumen.

David Calvert

David is a retired chartered surveyor who spent his working life in professional practice in the construction industry. Originally from County Durham, David lived and worked in several counties across England before moving to Cumbria in 2006. His lifelong interest in the countryside is thanks largely to an early introduction by a farming uncle. His focus on rivers began in 1957 when a family friend took him fishing. David joined the committee of his local angling club as the junior section representative in 1960 and over the last 30 years he has become increasingly involved in working with government agencies and private bodies to help our rivers recover from the abuses and depredations of the industrial age.

John Hilton

John began his career as an apprentice with North West Water in 1983 as a mechanical engineer. He soon joined United Utilities in 1998 where he held a number of senior roles in engineering, capital delivery, operations, contract management and a number of international assignments.

John has most recently been Director of Operational Services, Network Operations and Future Concept of Operations, leading strategic change programmes across the UU wholesale business.

John holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Mechanical and Production Engineering and a post graduate diploma in Utility Management, he is also a member of the Institute of directors and the Cumbria CBI.

John lives in the North West with his wife and child, is a keen cyclist and petrol head.

Sandy Brown

Sandy began her farm advice career at the Rural Payments Agency in 2002 before moving to Natural England in 2006. After delivering environmental schemes and Catchment Sensitive farming in the River Derwent catchment, she headed up NE efforts to deal with flood damage in the catchment. This culminated in her taking a position at the NFU to head the restoration response to flood damage on farmers land.

In 2012 Sandy joined Mitchells Land Agency, where her role as Farm & Environment Consultant saw her open a one stop advice service for the agriculture industry. She has since become a specialist in natural river flood management & restoration, along with pollution control and Environmental Impact Assessments.

Sandy enjoys rivers and all things water but undoubtedly her biggest challenge and joy, is to help our rural and urban communities work together with in the physical boundaries of our rivers. We all have our own agenda and ideas of how a river should be managed but nobody has yet come up with the definitive answer. Sandy has twice been flooded by the River Derwent and so has an obvious interest where rivers are concerned.

Sandy was born and bred on a Welsh Hill farm and in her spare time feeds her passion for rugby, road cycling and hill walking.

Mark Hastings

Mark is committed to the conservation of rivers and working to protect the great outdoors. As a keen salmon & trout fisherman Mark knows that most anglers are conservationists at heart and their role as the eyes and ears on the river banks is crucial in detecting pollution incidents while also recognising the presence of wildlife that is so often the barometer of healthy river systems.

Professionally Mark is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and works for Cumbria County Council in social care. This involves operating in an increasingly challenging environment and includes managing the £28m budget and supporting major changes in service redesign.

Mark has lots of positive energy and believes that anything is possible! We are delighted he has joined our Board of Trustees for both his enthusiasm and the invaluable HRM support and expertise he is able to provide the Trust.

Patrons - Lord & Lady Egremont

We are delighted to welcome Lord and Lady Egremont as patrons of West Cumbria Rivers Trust. In showing their committed support to the Trust, Lord and Lady Egremont add prestige and credibility to our cause. His Lordship has been a dedicated supporter of the Trust through financial donations and also opening up his home at Cockermouth Castle for fundraising events.

Lord and Lady Egremont

Partners and Supporters

And thanks to...

  • Charlie Poate (GIS support volunteer)
  • David Crowe (IT support volunteer)