Out & About …

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

A gentle river with six or seven ducks lazily swimming about. on the far bank is a park with several benches and upstream a weir.

River Leven

A paddling of ducks in Ayton can be seen swimming leisurely on the River Leven, located downstream of a weir, which is referred to locally as the waterfall.

Despite the serene ambiance, there are several concerns about the condition of the river. Agricultural lands located upstream contribute to high levels of nitrates and sediment runoff. In addition, the sewer storm overflow at Gribdale discharged 16 times, totalling 50 hours in 20211Gribdale Terrace Stw (Northumbrian Water). Permit number: 256/1062. ‘Sewage Map’. 2022. The Rivers Trust <https://theriverstrust.org/sewage-map> [accessed 3 March 2023]. Moreover, Northumbrian Water has recently conducted investigations to locate leaks in the village itself.

The significant discharge of sediment is a distinctive feature of the area’s topography, which comprises steep slopes, and specific soil types2North York Moors NCA HP140115. Page 53. Natural England. Available online at http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/2646022. To tackle this issue, the Tees Rivers Trust has undertaken extensive efforts to plant trees and establish sediment traps along the foothills. Trees play a crucial role in mitigating water pollution by acting as nutrient sinks and capturing sediment runoff from land with their roots. Additionally, their foliage reduces the risk of flooding by intercepting rainfall.

The Leven river is susceptible to rising water levels, although this does not always correspond with levels observed in other rivers. The most severe floods on this river have been recorded during periods of moist northerly or north-easterly airstreams, originating from low pressure systems situated over the North Sea off East Anglia. When the airstream passes over the Cleveland Hills, it undergoes orographic uplift, leading to heavy and prolonged rainfall3Archer, David. “Land of Singing Waters. Page 51, The Spredden Press. 1951..



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