The Derwents

Continuing our series on confusing river names, we come to the River Derwent, of which there are four.

River Derwent #1 is in the Lake District.  It starts where two streams meet, on the slopes of Scafell Pike and flows through two of the Lake District lakes – Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake.  It flows into the Solway Firth at Workington.

River Derwent #2 is in the Peak District.  It also flows through lakes, but these are the man-made reservoirs of Howden, Derwent and Ladybower.  It joins the River Trent, just after passing through Derby.

River Derwent #3 also has a reservoir on its route – another Derwent Reservoir!  It starts in the Pennines and flows into the River Tyne.

River Derwent #4 has a very odd route.  It begins in the North York Moors, about 6 miles from the sea, but instead of heading for the coast, it flows south and west inland, covering 100 miles before it empties into the River Ouse.

Why doesn’t the River Derwent flow straight to the sea?  Well higher land in that direction blocks the route.  However, after major flooding in 1799, a man-made channel known as Sea Cut was constructed.  Now when the Derwent is high, excess water can be diverted straight to the North Sea by the short route, which helps to prevent flooding along the Derwent valley.

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The last post in this series will be on Wednesday.