What we’re doing

The River Irt in the Black Wood area was straightened during the mid 1960’s. This has reduced the quality and quantity of the habitat and caused water to speed through the reach exacerbating flooding and erosion downstream. Thankfully when the river was straightened most of the old course of the river was not filled in, leaving the potential for restoration.

Phase one was undertaken in 2019 and this has partially connected one of the former channels during high flows. West Cumbria Rivers Trust are working with the National Trust and the Environment Agency to prepare for the next phase of works.

The approach

Phase two aims to fully re-connect the River Irt with its former channels. To achieve this three sections of excavations and two boulder rapids will be installed. These interventions have been carefully designed with the help of experienced river restoration experts in partnership with the Environment Agency and National Trust. 

The timescales 

Works are currently on hold but we continue to develop the project so that it is ready for delivery.

The benefits

  • The quantity of the in river and river bank habitat will more than double.
  • The quality of the habitat for fish will improve as a more natural pool – riffle – glide sequence is expected to develop.
  • The resilience of the habitat will improve – the risk of redd washout during floods will be significantly reduced.
  • The works will help reduce flooding downstream by slowing the flow of water downstream

Photo Gallery


Name Type Size
Lake District National Park planning investigation report pdf 225.21 KB
Project design drawings pdf 7.46 MB