Case study:Eddleston water

Jump to: navigation, search
(one vote)

To discuss or comment on this case study, please use the discussion page.

Location: 55° 40' 53", -3° 12' 7"
Edit location
Loading map...
Left click to look around in the map, and use the wheel of your mouse to zoom in and out.

Project overview

Edit project overview
Status In progress
Project web site
Themes Flood risk management, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Land use management - agriculture, Monitoring, Social benefits, Water quality
Country Scotland
Main contact forename Luke
Main contact surname Comins
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation Tweed Forum
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Eddleston Water catchment restoration, photograph source: Tweed Forum

Project summary

Edit project overview to modify the project summary.

This is a summary of a partnership project led by Tweed Forum which aims to restore the Eddleston Water for the benefit of the local community and wildlife. A series of practical works are now taking place throughout the catchment as part of an overall plan to restore the river and valley, the effects of which are being closely monitored.

The Eddleston Water is a small tributary of the River Tweed, flowing 20 km north to south before reaching the main river in the town of Peebles. Over time, the course of the river has been extensively altered and long sections were straightened in the early 19th century. Other changes in land management, both in the river valley and on the surrounding hill slopes, have also altered how the land drains. Together, these changes have resulted in an increased risk of flooding to Eddleston and Peebles, as rainfall and flood waters travel ever more quickly and directly from the hill slopes and along the river channels towards these communities. At the same time, these changes have also damaged the river environment itself, leading to the loss of over a quarter of the river’s original length, and habitat loss for plants and animals, including salmon and trout, as well as rare and protected species such as otters and lampreys.

Project aims: The three main aims are to: • investigate the possibility of reducing the risk of flooding to the communities of Eddleston and Peebles by restoring some of the original natural features of the catchment • improve the river habitat for wildlife and fisheries; • work with landowners and communities in the Eddleston valley to maximise the benefits they would gain from such work, while maintaining the profitability of local farms.

Who is involved? The project is a partnership initiative led by the Tweed Forum, with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Scottish Government and University of Dundee. Other key partners include British Geological Survey, Scottish Borders Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Forestry Commission, National Farmers Union (Scotland) the Tweed Foundation, Forest carbon and the Woodland Trust. The Forum works closely with landowners and the local community so that everyone can contribute ideas and follow the project’s progress.

Project results so far: A restoration strategy has been developed which will both restore natural habitats and help reduce the risk of flooding to Eddleston and Peebles. It focuses on three main areas of the catchment including the upper valley and hill slopes (which are the main sources of flood water running off in to the river); the valley bottom or floodplain; and the channels and habitats of the river itself.

Working with land managers we have been able to introduce subtle changes to current land management practices in order to slow water flow off the hills in the first place, and reconnect the river with its floodplain. So far we have: - Fenced off and planted 35ha of woodland (over 50,000 trees) , largely on less productive farmland in the headwaters which help slow down overland flow. - Installed a series of ‘high-flow restrictors’, which act to temporarily hold back flood waters. - Restored the natural meandering form of the river at Cringletie and Lake Wood. This has increased river length, reduced the slope and speed of the water flow and provided more space for flood waters, as well as creating new habitats and improving the landscape.

We have a number of similar schemes in the pipeline that will be rolled out in the next few years.

Monitoring the effects of these measures is an important part of this project. A network of rain gauges, groundwater and river level gauges have been installed throughout the valley to collect data on how the changes affect river flows and flood frequencies. Other monitoring programmes will reveal what changes occur to the river’s habitats and wildlife. Detailed monitoring and modelling of the groundwater has also been undertaken at a site close to Eddleston village.

Spreading the word about River Restoration and Natural Flood Management. The project will continue to work with local schools and other educational institutes by hosting field trips and study tours to show what can be achieved on the ground to reduce the effects of flooding.

Full details of the project are available at The project wishes to thank the farmers and landowners in the Eddleston Water catchment for their help and enthusiasm in taking this initiative forward.

We would welcome your comments and ideas.

Please contact:

• Luke Comins – Tweed Forum, South Court, Drygrange Steading, Melrose, Roxburghshire, TD6 9DJ (Tel: 01896 849723)

• Professor Chris Spray – UNESCO Centre for Water, Law, Policy and Science, University of Dundee, DD1 4HN (Tel; 01382 388362)

The Eddleston Water project in the Scottish Borders north of Peebles has been running for 7 years. Its aim is to test the effectiveness of various Natural Flood Management (NFM) measures in a heavily altered upland catchment of 70km2. The project also examines how to improve river ecology, including the Water Framework Directive classification as the main river was extensively straightened in the late 1700s, alongside maintaining sustainable farming within the catchment. To date, 3 sections of river with a total length of 2,000m have been remeandered, with the latest completed in autumn 2016. A total of 80 flow restricting log jams have been installed in strategic locations in the upper catchment and 66ha of native riparian woodland has been planted, along with 20 stormwater ponds. Further planting, flow restrictors and ponds are under negotiation. The catchment is undergoing intense hydrological (including groundwater) and ecological monitoring to quantify the effects of these various measures. The project has recently been awarded funding through the European Union’s Interreg North Sea Region international project, Building with Nature, which will enhance the monitoring effort considerably. The essence of the project is gathering reliable and convincing data from a detailed monitoring network to provide evidence of the effectiveness of NFM and habitat restoration measures. Modelling supports this observational approach. Since works began the watercourse has been upgraded from 'bad' status under the Water Framework Directive to 'moderate'. This has been achieved largely by targeting degraded reaches to improve their hydromorphology including remeandering, channel improvements, weir removal and bankside planting. The measures have yet to be tested in a really significant flood event, but the following have been demonstrated: Established broadleaf woodlands on hillslopes provide areas of increased capacity for rainfall infiltration and arrest run-off generation during flood-producing storm events; There is no evidence from this study that coniferous plantations or new broadleaf plantations offer the same increase in soil permeability and therefore run-off attenuation. Further targeted studies would be required to provide further evidence to back up these statements. Cost–benefit analyses show positive ratios for NFM planting and improved ecosystem services. The role of a trusted intermediary is essential in working with land managers and integrating NFM measures into a working landscape.

Monitoring surveys and results

This case study hasn’t got any Monitoring survey and results, you can add some by editing the project overview.

Lessons learnt

This case study hasn’t got any lessons learnt, you can add some by editing the project overview.

Image gallery

New gravel side bar. Photo: Ulrika Åberg, RRC
Fallen tree creating flow and habitat diversity. Photo: Ulrika Åberg, RRC
Re-meandered section. Photo: Ulrika Åberg, RRC
Back-water feature. Photo: Ulrika Åberg, RRC
Planting of the catchment. Photo: Ulrika Åberg, RRC

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Solway Tweed
River basin Solway Tweed


River name Eddleston water
Area category
Area (km2) 69
69 km²
6,900 ha
Maximum altitude category 200 - 500 m
Maximum altitude (m)
Dominant geology
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Grassland, Woodland
Waterbody ID

Other case studies in this subcatchment: Tweed Catchment Management Plan


Name Eddleston water
WFD water body codes
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name
Pre-project morphology Straightened, Embanked
Reference morphology Sinuous
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body No
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations WFD status "poor"
Protected species present No
Invasive species present No
Species of interest
Dominant hydrology Quick run-off
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use Improved/semi-improved grassland/pasture
Average bankfull channel width category
Average bankfull channel width (m)
Average bankfull channel depth category
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
Mean discharge category
Mean annual discharge (m3/s)
Average channel gradient category
Average channel gradient
Average unit stream power (W/m2)

Project background

Reach length directly affected (m)
Project started 2009
Works started
Works completed
Project completed 2013/05/01
Total cost category
Total cost (k€) £1.4m
"£" is not declared as a valid unit of measurement for this property.
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources Scottish Government, Building with Nature (Interreg), Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Borders Council, SNIFFER, Forestry Commission Scotland, Environment Agency, Dundee University, Woodland Trust, Cheviot Futures 2, Scottish Power, CEMEX, Scottish Rural Development Programme, Forest Carbon, Landowner

Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
Investigation and design 50 - 100 k€ SEPA River Restoration Fund
Stakeholder engagement and communication
Works and works supervision
Post-project management and maintenance

Supplementary funding information

Funded by the SEPA River Restoration Fund Scottish Government awarded funding over three financial years 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Flood risk management
Hydromorphology Channel pattern/planform, Quantity & dynamics of flow
Other reasons for the project


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications Introducing large woody debris, Embankment renaturalization
Floodplain / River corridor Connection to wider floodplain, Floodplain creation
Planform / Channel pattern Meandering channel
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement)


Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Biological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Physico-chemical quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

Additional links and references

Link Description leaflet.pdf The Eddleston Water project: Restoring natural habitat and reducing flood risk Katya Perez Chris Spray.pdf Assessment of stream course restoration and potential land use modification on flood risk reduction and other ecosystem services

Supplementary Information

Edit Supplementary Information