River Wiske Corridor

River Wiske Corridor

The River Wiske is one of North Yorkshire’s most heavily modified rivers.

Large sections of the river have been altered to make them act as drains, so water would flow through more quickly.

From research, we have gained a better understanding of the knock-on impacts of these changes to the river course, including flooding downstream which affects wildlife and communities. It has been determined that the best course for the river to run is the one it would run naturally, connecting it with the local floodplains.

We have also identified some additional issues. These include managing the sedimentation and agri-chemicals on the land nearby, in order to prevent them from entering the watercourse.

In 2019, we received a government funded Water Environment Grant (WEG) to continue our restoration in the Wiske catchment near Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

We are working in partnership with the Environment Agency, Natural England and local land owners to deliver this much-needed restoration.

For more information and updates of the project, join the Facebook group.

Key aims

This project aims to prevent water pollution in the forms of sedimentation and agri-chemicals, provide habitats for wildlife and help to alleviate flooding. We are putting in infrastructure which will benefit both landowners and the riparian habitat (the interface between land and a river or stream).

What are we doing

With the new funding, we are continuing to work with landowners to improve riparian habitats, both on the Wiske and on the tributaries that feed into the Wiske.

Surverying the watercourse

Volunteers are playing a big part in the project and after training have surveyed almost the whole of the watercourse looking for field drains, choked areas of water, sediment run off and generally commenting on the general habitat within and around the river. From these surveys we can glean information to plan our future works.

Stabilising the river bank

We are installing fencing and creating cattle crossings to reduce cattle poaching (when cows trample down land and degrade the soil). We are also stabilising and re-profiling the river bank to prevent collapse and erosion. In previous projects we've also installed owl and bat boxes.

Reducing flooding

A large part of the funding is going towards opening up a culvert (a tunnel through which a stream flows) that regularly floods farmland. When rainfall is high, the pipe is too narrow to take the full flow of the water. The water is then forced around the pipe and out onto the land and into buildings.

Our work will 'day-light' the culvert, which means taking the roof off the tunnel. Once it is complete, water will continue to flow freely through it, but when there is excess water, it will be contained in a wildlife-friendly storage area. This is an exciting part of the project that will have a positive impact for the landowners, wildlife & the local area.  

Tree planting

Thanks to the help from volunteers, tree planting along the river banks is an ongoing project. We have planted 1000 native trees along the banks of the upper Wiske near Appleton Wiske.

This is part of our wider work to reduce  pollution to the watercourse and improve water quality. The tree roots help to bind the sediment and stabilise the bank as they grow. They will intercept runoff and provide habitat and shelter for an array of wetland species.

How you can help

There are a few ways you can help alleviate flooding and create habitats for wildlife yourself.  Examples include constructing ponds in your garden to attract an array of wildlife and also planting trees to reduce the flood risk.

If you are interested in finding out more and want to help please contact the volunteering team by emailing volunteer@ywt.org.uk or calling 01904 659570.


  • Water Environment Grant (WEG) - Environment Agency/ Natural England (2018-present)
  • Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water (until 2018)
Logo group River Wiske