Case study:Haltwhistle burn; a total catchment approach

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Location: 54° 59' 21", -2° 26' 10"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Flood risk management, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Land use management - agriculture, Land use management - forestry, Monitoring, Water quality
Country England
Main contact forename Ceri
Main contact surname Gibson
Main contact user ID User:Halty
Contact organisation Tyne Rivers Trust
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations Haltwhistle Town Council, Northumberland National Park, Northumberland County Council, Forestry Commission, Natural England, Environment Agency, Newcastle University (NiRES), Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Haltwhistle catchment; beautiful and challenging

Project summary

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Haltwhistle Burn: ‘a total catchment’ approach is a partnership project which will use CRF funds to improve the whole catchment which has suffered the pressures of quarrying, farming, industry and an increasing population. Although the ‘official’ reasons for failure concern pressures on fish according to the criteria provided by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) this project addresses total waterbody issues deriving from a multitude of pressures, each creating ‘sub-lethal’ but chronic stresses. Haltwhistle’s ‘Centre of Britain’ identity, together with attraction of Hadrian’s Wall makes it a po-tentially significant tourism centre, with a focus on both heritage and natural features. There are however significant economic difficulties and youth behaviour issues. Haltwhistle Burn is a central focus and has already attracted works of improvement and interpretation by the Haltwhis-tle Partnership. Since the 2007 floods in the town, Tyne Rivers Trust has nurtured excellent relationships with agencies and extremely enthusiastic individuals directly connected to their catchment. Whilst the project is not a flood defence project this CRF funding now gives us a clear focus for agency action and direct spending on mitigating excess runoff and pollution.

Tyne Rivers Trust have already carried out geomorphological and habitat assessment of the entire burn, concluding that the ‘catchment approach’ would, by combining the small issues, create a significant benefit for the South Tyne and address the WFD ‘poor status’ classification.

Increase awareness of flood issues.
Community engagement with, and responsibility for, the delivery within every strand of this project will be encour-aged. A Tyne Rivers Trust River Watch group has already been set up collating existing local knowledge, carrying out some improvement tasks such as tree planting and to achieve monitoring via fixed point photography, inverte-brate analysis, electro-fishing, and rainfall and flow measurements. The local school has also experiences a ‘Living Rivers’ day with Tyne Rivers Trust exploring their local burn and issues of the wider catchment. They will be further engaged as the project develops.

Monitoring surveys and results

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This project is still in progress. To date we have restored 45m of channel and 200m of river bank. We have planted 190 trees. We have set up photographic fixed point monitoring sites for the river bank management work and after one season of regrowth the work is doing what we had hoped. We have 3 Riverfly monitors sampling on the burn and to date none of our intervention has had a negative effect. We have completed the preliminary electro-fishing surveys; the next permissible electro-fishing sweason is from July 2014. Another element of this project is also working with the local community to gather information on rainfall, river level, water temperature, turbidity, other chemical water quality measurements and fixed-point photography.

Lessons learnt

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It is impossible to achievement multiple benefits in a hollistic approach project without the support and commitment of partners, local land owners and local residents. We have only managed to achieve this through dedicating time to bringing the right people together and explaining clearly our aims and overlapping benefits. Only then can efective work on the ground begin. It is vital to consider legacy and exit-strategy right from the beginning. Working at the sub-catchment scale cannot be considered in the short-term. Management and maintenance of interventions must be planned for and bought into within the community.

Image gallery

Electro-fishing with volunteers
Forestry Commission trees marked ready for leaky dam creation
Felled tree secured with cable to protect bank and create habitat
Forest road drain runs over rough ground rather than into watercourse
Green revetment ensures outflow channel does not silt up
Haltwhistle River Watch Group LOVE Northumberland award
Children from Haltwhistle Community Campus are inspired to build their own river simulator
Children from Haltwhistle Community Campus carry out river transect
Children from Haltwhistle Community Campus measure water chemistry
Laying trees to protect river bank
Recording fish data with volunteers
River bank collapse
River bank collapse protected by willow
River Watch coffee morning fundraiser and info stall
Setting up a rainfall gauge
Sharing knowledge of the catchment
White-clawed crayfish survey workshop
Working out flow direction for fish easement

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Northumbria
River basin Tyne


River name Haltwhistle Burn from Source to South Tyne
Area category 10 - 100 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category 200 - 500 m
Maximum altitude (m) 339
339 m
0.339 km
33,900 cm
Dominant geology Calcareous
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Acid Grassland
Waterbody ID GB103023075570


Name Haltwhistle
WFD water body codes GB103023075570
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name Haltwhistle Burn from Source to South Tyne
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body No
National/international site designation All - multiple designations across the site
Local/regional site designations local wildlife site, local geological site
Protected species present Yes
Invasive species present Yes
Species of interest white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes)
Dominant hydrology
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use
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) 18 000
18,000 m
18 km
1,800,000 cm
Project started 2012/09/17
Works started 2013/01/14
Works completed
Project completed
Total cost category 100 - 500 k€
Total cost (k€) 425
425 k€
425,000 €
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources Catchment Restoration Funds

Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
Investigation and design
Stakeholder engagement and communication 10 - 50 k€ 45
45 k€
45,000 €
Tyne Rivers Trust
Works and works supervision 100 - 500 k€ 322
322 k€
322,000 €
Tyne Rivers Trust
Post-project management and maintenance Tyne Rivers Trust
Monitoring 1 - 10 k€ 7.3
7.3 k€
7,300 €

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Farming, Industry, Urbanisation
Hydromorphology Freshwater flow regime
Biology Fish
Other reasons for the project


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor Barrier removal
Planform / Channel pattern
Other Tree planting
Non-structural measures
Management interventions Management of organic and inorganic sediments, Improve forest management and agricultural
Social measures (incl. engagement) Awareness raising, Engagement with schools
Other Community engagement, Monitoring via Fixed Point Photography, Invertebrate analysis, Electro-fishing


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 Community Based Catchment Management research project

Supplementary Information

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