GUIDE TO THE RIVER DERWENT
(Bassenthwaite Lake to Workington)
NAME OF RIVER: Derwent.
WHERE IS IT?: NW Cumbria, Exiting N end of Bassenthwaite Lake. Map.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS:
This trip finishes at the weirs about 2 miles upstream from Workington town centre. Park right by the weir.
According to the access agreement (2006) only the following Access / Egress points are permitted.
Peel Wyke Harbour, Bassenthwaite Lake (NGR: NY 2035 3085). This is situated on the north-western shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. This is the only access point for the River upstream of Isel Bridge.
Isel Bridge (NGR: NY 1642 3330). This is downstream of Isel Bridge, river left. Walk along field edge (National Trust land). Parking in lay-by.
Harris Bridge (Millers Footbridge) (NGR: NY 1180 3079). This is situated within Cockermouth, river right through Public Park.
Penny Bridge Nr Broughton Cross (NGR: NY 0756 3071). This is situated south of Great Broughton. Access river left (opposite farmhouse) along grassy track. Parking below A66.
Mill Fields (NGR: NY 0099 2920). River Right before weir.
APPROX LENGTH: Bass Lake to Cockermouth 13km. Cockermouth to Workington 15km.
TIME NEEDED: Each of the above sections needs about 3 hrs.
ACCESS HASSLES: Steve Lenartowicz, BCU River Advisor... (Spring 2006) 'The Keswick Anglers' Association have the fishing rights for most of the Greta and the Derwent down to Bassenthwaite Lake.'
John Crosbie (June 2008)...'Actually I am the River advisor for this river and the KAA have no fishing rights here the fishing is privately owned and we negotiate with the Derwent Owners Association. Please note that I have now left the Calvert Trust and that the email and phone numbers there will no longer reach me.'
Delicate access situation with Baliffs being called in to arrest paddlers in the past. We now have an agreement which is date and water level dependant. For the future of paddling this river it is essential that we adhere to this agreement.
1st November to 31st January. Canoeing permitted providing water above red lines on guages.
1 February to 31 May. As above, however, Bassenthwaite Lake to Isel Bridge closed (for nature conservation purposes.
1 June to 31 October river closed to paddlers except by special permission (and this is likely only to be given in June and July).
Groups of more than 10 people and Outdoor Centres are requested to avoid this river between Bassenthwaite and Cockermouth due to the sensitive wildlife and access issues.
Leaders of groups and individuals should ensure that:
- Each person is sufficiently trained to make a reasonably trouble free passage.
- Straight through, quiet passage is requested.
- Landing other than at the agreed sites should only be necessary in the case of an emergency
- Groups should be sufficiently well equipped to deal with any emergencies that may arise.
Wildlife - This river is designated under European legislation as a candidate Special Area of Conservation (cSAC) for sea, river, brook lamprey, salmon, otters, marsh fritillary (butterfly) and luronium natans (floating water plantain) and as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Canoeists must take care and make as little disturbance as possible to the wildlife and habitats present.
Consideration should also be made to wintering wildfowl, such as goldeneye, found on the river and banks in the upper reaches, between Bassenthwaite and Isel Bridge. These can be found in large numbers
(300+) during the months of January, February and in particular March and are important bird species. This is the reason there is no access 1st February to 31st May. Extra care should be taken at all other times.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: The red lines on the gauges allow paddling and this is a good level.
GRADING: Grade 1/2.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: The weirs.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Easy touring, with weirs.
CONTRIBUTED BY: John Crosbie, Mikeybaby, Tony Kavanagh.