Wild River Days

Our Wild River Days for KS2 focuses on science and geography, with the opportunity to also do some literacy, art, and team-work activities. We focus on human impacts on rivers, as well as investigating freshwater wildlife. The programme involves:

  1. A full or half day in the classroom
  2. A full or half day field trip to a local river

These sessions are free to schools in Copeland or Allerdale.


Classroom session

The indoor session will prepare the children for their field trip with a series of interactive activities, including:

  • Use OS maps to review key river terms
  • Practice using a key to help identify some river wildlife
  • Discuss what is good and bad for rivers in terms of people and wildlife
  • Carry out some in-class soil experiments on the effect of land-use on rivers
  • Do a Rivers in Role-play activity
  • Read a story together about The Adventurous Salmon

Field trip

We will find a suitable spot by a local river where we will eat lunch in the great outdoors, and do a round-robin of three activities. Depending on your group size, two of these activities may need to be led by the adults accompanying your class. There may be time to do an additional activity depending on arrival and departure times.

  1. River dip: The children will use a net in the river to capture invertebrates living in the water. They will use a key to identify them, look at their adaptations, and discuss how the animals can act as pollution indicators.
  2. Walk-over survey: The children will walk a short way along the river and create a sketch map with symbols, labels and annotations, focusing on aspects of the landscape which might be good or bad for rivers. This will involve using an OS map and compass points 
  3. Natural art: the children will create some outdoor art with a watery theme using sticks and leaves, Andy Goldsworthy-style!

Can’t go outside?

Try Rivers in the Classroom! Our one-day programme can be offered fully in the classroom. We’ll bring the river to you!

Before and after

Suggested pre-visit self-led activities

  • An introduction to key rivers terms and definitions
  • An introduction to freshwater wildlife in the West Cumbria district including micro-habitats and food chains
  • A study of the water cycle delivered as part of a water efficiency workshop sponsored by United Utilities
  • An independent research activity on why rivers are important

Suggested post-visit self-led activities

  • Follow up the results of the pollution study by measuring the levels of nitrates and phosphates in a water sample, and comparing the results with secondary data from a different river
  • Write a report to summarise the findings of the walk-over survey
  • Write, or refine some river-themed creative writing
  • Make a key
  • Study the life-cycle of a mayfly and compare it to a frog or butterfly
  • Make food chains from the wildlife we saw or discussed


Find out more and book

Contact our Education and Engagement Officer, Cathy Gruba.

Email:  cathy@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Call: 07494 425759 or 017687 75429


We’re able to offer these sessions for free thanks to the generous support of our funders.