Our objectives

West Cumbria Rivers Trust has a crucial role to play in raising awareness and increasing understanding of West Cumbria’s rivers and lakes. We do this by connecting with people locally to make a positive difference to the health of rivers, lakes, people and wildlife. To this end we have three core objectives, each with a specific set of goals.


Engaging communities and partnership organisations to enjoy our rivers and lakes by connecting people with rivers and nature.


  • A healthy river catchment is relevant and accessible to the West Cumbrian community who are actively engaged in protecting and securing its future.
  • The Trust is a well-respected and highly visible charity recognised as the leading organisation for river catchment management in West Cumbria.
  • Encouraging active participation of local people in the management of rivers


Restoring natural processes within the catchment and making changes on land to optimise the passage of clean water for flood mitigation and water quality whilst improving habitat and connectivity.


  • Improving natural habitat, river processes and water quality through an array of different projects across West Cumbria
  • Promoting good practice to improve water quality and the movement of water
  • Making changes in the landscape to hold and manage the passage of water more effectively


Protect the unique biodiversity of our catchments by connecting habitats to protect wildlife at a catchment scale.


  • Thriving wildlife habitats throughout our catchment
  • Working towards more natural and dynamic river systems
  • Promoting a network of resilient habitats improving connectivity for migratory species

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:

Tap image below to view more.

Meet the Team

We 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

After many years invaluable service to the Trust, Ian now advises colleagues and partners on a wide range of projects and issues.

Ian previously worked for Environment Agency (and its predecessor) for over 16 years and this included spells in fisheries, water resources and pollution control.

Ian 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 joined the Trust in 2011 as our invasive non-native species (INNS) coordinator. She then successfully bid for and set up our Catchment Partnerships before moving on to delivering projects to improve land management, water quality & habitat creation.

Karin is currently delivering our People on the Keekle project, working on the Lower Keekle and Longlands Lake.

Karin previously worked for the Environment Agency, Bassenthwaite Reflections (HLF funded) and she was fortunate enough to work with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in the West Indies.

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


Diane OLeary

Diane was responsible for delivering the EU LIFE freshwater mussel project, ‘Pearls in Peril’ in Ennerdale. Although this project is now over, Diane continues to work in Ennerdale delivering the Compensatory Measures Project which is a partnership project between United Utilities, Environment Agency and Natural England. The aim of the project is to promote a healthy, functioning river habitat that supports freshwater mussels and all other species that depend on this habitat through the restoration of natural ecosystem processes.

Diane has over eighteen years’ experience in the conservation, environmental and sustainability sectors and loves being in the outdoors.


Philippa Chadwick

Phil is the one of the Natural Flood Management Project Officers, covering the Flimby area. She also works alongside farmers in the Cocker Catchment.

Phil has a background in conservation, including working for the Forestry Commission and the National Trust. She has a BSc in Zoology from Aberdeen University - and did once work at a zoo!! In her spare time you’ll find her helping on the family farm or playing rugby.


Chris West

Chris joined us in 2015 as a Project Officer working on the Freshwater Mussel project within the Wasdale valley.

Chris previously worked with Eden Rivers Trust after completing a BSc Geography at Newcastle University. Outside of work Chris helps run the family beef and sheep farm near Workington.


Ruth Mackay

Ruth is a Project Officer working on several projects but primarily the River Derwent electrofishing programme. 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.

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


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, and delivering natural flood management projects. 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 spends lots of time fell running, cycling and swimming in the lakes.


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.


Clair Payne

Clair is one of the Trust’s Natural Flood Management Project Officers, covering the Glenderamackin catchment. She has previously worked as a ranger for the National Trust in the South Lakes and volunteered for The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) in Leeds. She has a degree in Geography from Newcastle University and is keen to use her geomorphology and conservation background in this new and exciting role.

In her spare time, Clair enjoys riding her mountain bike, road bike and swimming in many of the Lake District’s wonderful tarns.


Annabelle Kennedy

Annabelle is the Natural Flood Management Project Officer covering the Cocker catchment (Loweswater, Crummock and Buttermere). She recently worked for Morecambe Bay Partnership, and previously with Wildlife Trusts managing a variety of conservation projects and nature reserves. She studied for an MSc in Protected Area Management, and previously gained post-graduate qualifications in Bird Conservation & Ornithology and Biological Monitoring & Species Identification. In her spare time, she looks after her animals and small acreage of land.


Jo McCurrie

Jo joined us an intern in September 2018. Jo has a BSc in Zoology from Edinburgh University and an MSc in Sustainable Water Management from Lancaster University and, having spent a long time raising her offspring, is keen to return to conservation and biology. She is looking forward to working with different members of the Trust, hopefully helping out and gaining all sorts of fabulous experience. Jo grew up in Italy, but has also lived in France, America and Germany. She enjoys cooking, travelling, history, cats and cycling.


Sarah Allen

Sarah is our Communications and Administration Manager. She has several years’ experience in marketing and communications and worked at the University of Essex prior to moving to Cumbria and joining the Trust. Sarah has a first degree from Oxford and is now studying part-time for a second in environmental science.

When not working or studying, Sarah loves being out on the fells.


Cathy Gruba

Cathy is our Education and Engagement Officer. Her interest in wildlife conservation started when she spent a wet, muddy winter on the Isle of Arran volunteering for the National Trust for Scotland. She has since worked as conservation ranger for Center Parcs and returned to Arran as seasonal ranger. She’s coordinated a busy family learning programme for Tullie House Museum and most recently worked as an ecologist and wildlife engagement freelancer working as lead ecologist for a number of sites linked to the United Utilities new pipeline. Cathy comes from a long line of teachers and thinks that’s where her passion for education and engagement comes from. When Cathy’s not in her wellies with schools and communities river dipping you’ll find her walking her dog Flynn on the saltmarshes and mosses of the Solway coast.


Esther Foster

Esther joined the team as a volunteer intern in November 2019 and is really excited to gain more experience in the environmental sector. She has a background in outdoor education, gained a BA in Outdoor Studies from the University of Cumbria, and is studying part time for an MSc in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education through the University of Edinburgh. In her free time Esther spends a lot of time in the outdoors, mainly climbing and mountaineering.

Chris Gray

Chris helped with our electrofishing surveys before joining the team as a voluntary intern in November 2019. Having graduated from Newcastle University with a BSc in Earth Science, he is eager to gain further experience in the environmental sector. Chris is currently helping our Education and Engagement Officer run our school and community sessions. Outside of his work with us, you’ll find him either up in the fells walking his golden lab Millie, or down in Keswick serving you tapas and cocktails.


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 still 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, including the Wildlife Trust, the National Trust, a number of small charities, and County Councils.

Jodie helps the Trust deliver all its objectives and overcome the many challenges and hurdles along the way. Her particular passion is community engagement and education. She goes by the great David Attenborough’s mantra: “No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”

Vikki Salas - Assistant Director

Vikki joined the Trust in January 2013. She manages our successful Catchment Partnership work alongside managing a team of staff, overseeing the delivery of some of the Trust’s significant projects and managing the Trust’s consultancy work. As part of the senior management team Vikki works to ensure the Trust is successful and continues to deliver an ever increasing portfolio of delivery to improve our rivers and their catchments for people and wildlife. Vikki was born in bred in Keswick, and pleased to be back living and working in her home town, having previously worked as a Senior Ecologist in Leeds. In her spare time Vikki can mostly be found enjoying the outdoors with her young family.


Luke Bryant - Assistant Director

Luke joined us in 2017 as the new Assistant Director, overseeing the river restoration programme. He previously worked for an environmental contractor and has a background in environmental restoration and outdoor education. Luke is constantly amazed and inspired by the team at the Trust. Whilst there are always challenges associated with improving the natural environment, there is real joy to be experienced when projects start to take shape and get delivered.

Having lived in Cumbria for 16 years Luke is passionate about the natural environment and, when not working, enjoys canoeing and walking with his young family and Labrador, Benny (official office-favourite dog).


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.

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.

Trish Dunlop

Trish has had a passion for the environment since persuading her chemistry teacher to take their sixth form class on a trip to her local sewage works! This led to a degree in Environmental Chemistry and subsequently a job as a Pollution Inspector with what is now the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

She moved south to live in the Lake District more than twenty years ago since when she has worked for Sellafield in a variety of roles relating to compliance and improvement for environment, health and safety.

She has relished bringing up her three children to enjoy the fells, rivers and lakes around them and the family are often to be found messing about in our lovely clean waters.

Having seen at first hand from her kids the positive impact that learning initiatives such as Forest Schools have on our next generation, she is keen to get involved, and muddy, with the Trust’s education and volunteering projects.

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.

Ross Hayman

Ross cares for a stretch of the River Marron which runs through his smallholding in West Cumbria, and is passionate about enhancing biodiversity and encouraging wildlife.

He lives with the river every day, and has worked in partnership with the Trust on a range of flood alleviation measures that also enhance the environment. These have included tree-planting, river bank protection, erosion control, wooded debris installations, holding water on the floodplain and minimising run-off from fields.

A parish councillor and primary school governor, Ross is a communications professional by trade and specialises in strategic communications, community relations and public consultation.

In his spare time, Ross enjoys walking his labrador Max over the Cumbrian fells, along its rivers and around its lakes.

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.

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.

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)