Westcountry Rivers

Helping to restore and protect the water environment in the Westcountry for the benefit of people, wildlife and the local economy.

Rivers Bring Water to Life

Our Mission

We are a charity working to restore and protect the rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal areas for the benefit of people, wildlife and the local economy.

These places inspire and sustain us, they make us happier and healthier. They are steeped in history and they hold the key to all of our futures, but they are too often overlooked and so we need to celebrate them, promote them and protect them. Rivers bring water to life.

By working with local communities, businesses and other environmental organisations we work to bring our lost and forgotten rivers back to life so that they can once again play their vital role in all of our lives.

We help Westcountry rivers bring water to life

We are not always aware of it, but the natural world we live in sustains us all as we live our lives. Spending time in the natural world; breathing fresh air, watching light reflected on water or experiencing the joy that comes from spending a moment among wildlife, makes us happier, healthier and perhaps more prosperous as well.

Donate to help a Westcountry River

Fisheries Management

Our formula for fisheries management forms an action-orientated approach based upon answering the essential questions to direct our works on rivers

Land Management

We deliver land management advice and on-farm measures to minimise pollutant loss from farms while maximising efficiency & enhancing ecological health

Information & Evidence

We create, manage, analyse and present robust spatial evidence of the highest quality to ensure that actions are targeted, integrated and cost efficient

Education & Training

We offer education to people at all stages and from any background: it is the key to changing behaviour and can best be achieved through interaction with nature

Latest News

Celebrate the spirit of the River Tamar!

Event: Tamar River Festival Date: 10th October Time: 11am to 4pm Venue: Cotehele Quay (National Trust), St. Dominick, South East Cornwall Cost: FREE The river that flows through the heart of the Westcountry between Devon and Cornwall will be celebrated at a special festival on Saturday 10th October. People who live, work and have a close connection to the River Tamar are being invited to share their stories at the inaugural event, which will also showcase projects to protect the river for future generations as well as the array of local produce, artists and community groups based along the 60-mile stretch of water. Each of the tales from the riverbank will be brought together at the free festival in a bid to capture the spirit of the Tamar and encourage people to support and protect the waterway for generations to come. Artists including Chrissy Wallis and Peter Ursem will share their work that is inspired by the Tamar River, with Tavy Tars providing musical entertainment. A number of local experts will share their knowledge of the Tamar’s rich history. Charly Braungardt of Plymouth University will give a talk and display on the mining heritage of the Tamar, while Barbara Bridgeman will present the history and restoration of the Lynher Barge. Author Ted Sherrell will share insights into how he set about writing From the Banks of the Tamar. Many members of the Tamar Partnership are contributing to the event. Tamar Grow Local has brought together producers of local, sustainable food and flowers. The Westcountry Rivers Trust is inviting people to bring a bottle of water from their local river...

River Improvements show great economic and environmental returns

In 2012 the Westcountry Rivers Trust won funding to deliver over £4 million of restoration work over three years on river catchments across the South West and a recent independent economic evaluation has shown that for each £1 invested, between £1.9 and £4.5 has been generated, depending on the project location. These Catchment Restoration Fund (CRF) projects have been delivered on the rivers of the South Hams, the Axe and Exe, the Dart and Teign, the Rivers of South Cornwall and the Taw. The projects have now finished and have been a great success, both ecologically and economically. We recently commissioned NEF Consulting Ltd to undertake a cost-benefit evaluation of the CRF projects. This research used extended Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) in order to estimate the socio-economic and environmental returns generated by respective projects. For this purpose, this research estimated: – The potential environmental (ecological) impacts of respective projects – The potential societal benefits supported by those ecological impacts – The value of those benefits, expressed in monetary terms – The Benefit-Cost ratios, i.e. the comparison between the investments put in the projects and the wider benefits generated. This independent research shows that by improving the water quality and ecological conditions in our catchments there are substantial social benefits generated as well as support for a variety of Ecosystem Services. The Net Present Value (representing the total benefits, net of costs) is positive for all projects, showing that investing in river improvement projects is economically efficient and effective for everyone. Read the full report here ….. WRT_FINAL REPORT Share Tweet...

The battle against Invasive species

Invasive species have been hitting the headlines recently. One of the main problem species in the South-West is Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera). As the name suggests, this plant originated in the Himalayas and was introduced to the UK by the Victorian plant hunters as a horticultural specimen. Inevitably this became one of many species that was not only able to tolerate, but actually thrive in the UK and has now become a nuisance; prolific in many habitats but particularly wet ground or river corridors. This annual produces pink flowers which are readily spotted in summer months – July is usually the key time to spot, and act on controlling this. The main problems associated with this species are the fact that is can readily out-compete and suppress native species, growing and spreading rapidly resulting in large patches of Balsam, the seed pods explode when ripe or lightly touched which can disperse literally thousands of seeds a matter of meters (but also readily into rivers and streams as means of transport), and once the plant dies back in the autumn its dominance means the lack of other vegetation can result in bare earth. On riverbanks this increases risk of erosion with resulting siltation downstream which is detrimental to in-stream wildlife such as fish spawning sites, or invertebrates which form the baseline of food webs. As an annual plant, if it is not allowed to mature to seeding it’s spread can be controlled – in fact stopped, by vigilant monitoring and plant removal. Effective control is as simple as pulling up this shallow-rooted plant entirely, and leaving it to wither away...