‘Resilient Glenderamackin’ Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund


The Rivers Trust (RT), West Cumbria Rivers Trust and Nature Finance have successfully secured funding from DEFRA’s Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF) to explore how investment can be used to fund nature-based solutions in the Glenderamackin catchment.

The project is trialling a natural capital investment approach and will test a model that would allow multiple beneficiaries to collectively pay back a significant upfront investment over time and within their institutional constraints.

Using learning from a similar, but smaller scale investment funded NFM project in the Wyre catchment in Lancashire, and WCRT’s previous NFM experience, we aim to develop features to reduce flood risk to Keswick (in the present day climate scenario) whilst improving water quality, enhancing biodiversity and storing carbon. Natural capital outcomes will be high, in line with many local and national plans and policies. JBA consulting are modelling the effectiveness of our current proposals and exploring the wider opportunities, with results expected later in the summer. 


The Glenderamackin and St Johns Beck join to form the River Greta upstream of Keswick. The Glenderamackin flows in a 16km arc westward from its source behind Blencathra in the Northern Lake District fells. Its tributaries include Troutbeck, Naddle Beck and the Glenderraterra. St Johns beck flows from Thirlmere Reservoir, with minor tributaries including Helvellyn Gill and How Beck. The whole catchment covers an area of 142km2 and is part of the River Derwent Catchment - within the Lake District National Park and World Heritage Site and River Derwent Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Location of Glenderamackin catchment (Contains OS data © Crown Copyright and database right 2023; Contains EA data © Crown Copyright and database right 2022). 


The Glenderamackin catchment faces multiple threats including a rapid decline in nature, ‘unfavourable-no change’ SAC status, and increases in severe flooding due to climate change. Keswick has a long history of flooding, with devastating floods occurring in 2005, 2009 and most recently in 2015, when 515 properties were directly flooded and many more affected by surface water flooding. Historic land use changes, agricultural drainage and compacted ground, together with an increase in extreme rainfall events, contribute to a high flood risk for Keswick.


We will work with farmers and landowners across the Glenderamackin and St Johns catchments to upscale previous NFM delivery in the catchment. NFM comprises a range of techniques designed to keep water in the landscape and out of rivers for longer during heavy rainfall, with the goal being to reduce flood risk downstream by ‘slowing the flow’. These measures, known as nature based solutions, have a number of other benefits including but not limited to: reducing flood risk, increasing drought resilience, improving water quality as well as creating and enhancing existing habitats.

We aim to reduce the flood peak in Keswick by delivering a range of targeted multi-benefit interventions, which will store up to 900,000m³ of water in the upper catchment. In the present day climate scenario, this is modelled to offer protection in Keswick up to a 1 in 30 year flood event by reducing the flood peak by 8%. This level of reduction will offer a higher standard of protection than the existing flood wall offers. The interventions would continue to offer additional protection to Keswick in light of increased flood risk into the future, through reduction in peak flow up to the 2050’s.

This will be achieved through delivery of a range of measures including; creating ponds and wetlands (for biodiversity and with additional water storage during storm events), re-connecting rivers with their floodplains, tree planting, creating and restoring hedgerows (along surface flow pathways), improving soils, installing leaky barriers and increasing water storage through low bunds.

These measures complement hard engineering and flood resilience measures delivered by other agencies and organisations while also contributing to other priorities in catchment.


We will establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which will be a not-for-profit, social enterprise entity with objectives to increase resilience and reduce flood risk in the Glenderamackin catchment by delivering a range of ecosystem services such as, but not limited to, carbon sequestration, water quality improvement and biodiversity gain. Upfront capital required to deliver catchment interventions will be raised through green investment.

This will be repaid over a long period of time. This will be achieved by the SPV entering long-term ecosystem service contracts with various buyers who will seek to benefit from the interventions. These could include but not limited to, water companies, insurance companies, local business, and strategy organisations. The SPV will also enter into long-term lease agreements with farmers and landowners to facilitate delivery and host the interventions, with contractual payments directly linked to ongoing intervention maintenance. This will complement future changes in agricultural policy to enable a financial mechanism to incentivise landscape scale sustainable farming.

This financing model will provide a test case for evaluating Willingness-To-Pay and appropriate investment structures for investing in large-scale natural capital improvements, at the scale and pace that is required while supporting local communities and sustainable agriculture. We believe this could be a serious solution to deliver an integrated catchment management approach with multiple environmental benefits including climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Our progress so far (as of February 2024):

  • This project is now a DEFRA round 2 Landscape Recovery project and we are working through the development phase.
  • With thanks to funding from Natural Course, we’ve been able to work with leading consultants, JBA, to model effectiveness of the proposals in the catchment to reduce flood risk downstream.
  • We’re continuing to work with the Rivers Trust to map ecosystem services including water availability (drought is just as big an issue), water quality, biodiversity uplifts and carbon sequestration and using this to inform our discussions with Buyers.
  • With thanks to funding from the Lake District National Parks’ Farming in Protected Landscapes funding, we are able to continue the Glenderamackin Farmer group until January 2025. This allows us to bring farmers together to help develop and co-design the Resilient Glenderamackin project further, understand grants that are available and support farmers in the catchment through the agricultural transition.


Name Type Size
Resilient Glenderamackin Project Summary October 2023 pdf 584.49 KB
Anticipated Resilient Glenderamackin Project Outputs pdf 1.31 MB
286 B