Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Kirkstone Beck

It has been two years since I was last this far up Patterdale, and I see there’s been quite a bit of change to Kirkstone Beck, thanks to work carried out by the National Trust.

As in many dales of the Lake District, Kirkstone Beck used to flow in a canalised channel, modified over the centuries to improve drainage to the pastures of the valley bottom. However, it is now understood that healthy rivers ought to possess some inherent intricacy, a mix of configurations that result in diverse water flows and riverbeds, thereby benefiting different species of plants and animals. A straight, watercourse that lacks variation, pushes water downstream rapidly, thus posing challenging conditions for wildlife like juvenile fish and invertebrates to survive.

So, the National Trust has made substantial changes to Kirkstone Beck, incorporating some natural features like meanders, rapids, and pools to improve the variety of habitats in the beck. Bringing back these natural elements will create perfect habitat for a diversity of flora and fauna to flourish.

The track to Hartsop Hall now boasts two bridges instead of one, thanks to the beck being split into two channels. The beck’s width has effectively doubled, increasing its ability to handle flood waters, and also reducing the risk of damage to the bridge structure. A broader stream moves at a gentler pace with lower energy and allowing sediment to settle, creating habitats for fish to spawn and rest.



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