‘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 13%. This would protect 130 commercial and residential properties in Keswick. The interventions would continue to offer additional protection to Keswick in light of increased flood risk into the future, reducing the flood peak by 9% by the 2050’s in a 1 in 20 year flood event (using the mid-point climate change projections).

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 June 2023):

  • We’ve held two farmer group meetings: crucial to help shape the project and the proposed hosting payments for interventions. 
  • Working with our catchment EA Flood Risk Advisor, we are exploring how effective this catchment project will be in reducing downstream flood risk whilst building the evidence base for delivering NFM at scale. 
  • Leading consultants, JBA are currently modelling the proposals in the catchment - answering the question: how effective will the project be at reducing flood risk above Keswicks’ current standard of protection whilst factoring in climate change. And, where are the best locations to do that? We look forward to the results in summer 2023.  
  • We’re doing lots of behind the scenes work on our financial models - blending public and private finance opportunities.
  • Mapping 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 the Buyers. 

Who we are?

West Cumbria Rivers Trust - is an environmental charity working to restore and enhance the rivers, lakes, estuaries, and surrounding countryside of West Cumbria. By working with farmers, landowners, partners and communities, the Trust’s work includes improving water quality, enhancing habitats to improve wildlife diversity, and reducing flood risk.

Since 2018, WCRT have worked with over 30 farmers and landowners in the Glenderamackin catchment to deliver several slow the flow and habitat restoration projects ranging from water storage areas and ponds to floodplain hedgerows and tree planting projects.

West Cumbria Rivers Trust (WCRT) is part of the national network of River Trusts which have played an ever-increasing role in delivering environmental improvements throughout the country.

The Rivers Trust - is one of the fastest-growing environmental networks in the world. Our 60-plus member Rivers Trusts, independent charities in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland, are the only collaborative group dedicated to protecting and improving rivers for the benefit of people and wildlife. Rivers Trusts are, uniquely, organised around river catchment boundaries; improving rivers requires interventions over the whole area of land which drains into the river.

The Rivers Trust led on the Wyre NFM Investment readiness project which successfully secured £1m of private investment for a large scale NFM programme in the upper Wyre catchment. They will build on their experience of developing market-led approached to deliver environmental benefits by working with seller aggregators & buyer. The RT will bring learning, methodology and template MoU and contractual documentation, and services for managing the transaction post-project.

Nature Finance - Nature Finance is an independent nature-based investment consultancy established by Dan Hird working with a range of clients in the growing environmental sector. After a career of more than 30 years in corporate finance and investment advisory, Dan established Nature Finance as a way of combining his previous commercial and financial experience with his lifelong personal interest in nature and the environment.

Nature Finance focuses on the development of projects and business models which can attract external private investment to blend with public finance and so accelerate restoration of our valuable biodiversity and natural landscapes.

In his last role as Head of Corporate Finance at Triodos Bank, Dan initiated four pilot nature-based investment projects with £0.5m of development grant funding from Defra, Environment Agency and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. These pilots have generated considerable learning and knowhow and directly contributed to the development of Defra’s £10 million Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund launched in March 2020. Dan worked closely as lead adviser to The Rivers Trust on the successful completion of the first of these pilots, the Wyre Catchment NFM project, in March 2022.


Name Type Size
Resilient Glenderamackin Project Summary May 2023 pdf 407.62 KB
Anticipated Resilient Glenderamackin Project Outputs pdf 1.31 MB
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