The Northumberland Rivers catchment extends southwards from Berwick-upon-Tweed down to the Blyth Valley, with the Cheviot Hills to the west and the North Sea to the east. It includes Holy Island and the Farne Islands, both internationally recognised for their native wildlife. This largely rural catchment has great tourist appeal, attracted by the Northumberland National Park, the coastal Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the fine historical heritage and the pristine condition of the natural surroundings.

    Population distribution is uneven, with over half living in the urbanised south east. There is proposed development to address the growing demand for housing, a large proportion of which will be located in the Blyth Valley District. The significant number of ports and marinas along the coast generate considerable marine traffic important to the area's economy.

    The area is rich in rivers and coastal streams which support an abundance of ecology, including species of high conservation value such as otters, river jelly lichen and native crayfish. Salmon, sea trout and wild brown trout are also found across the catchment.

    The character of the landscape has mainly resulted from agricultural practices and is a mix of upland moor, forest, arable land and pasture. Urban and industrial influences have also affected the landscape and today open cast mining still dominates large tracts of land to the south and east of the area. The water environment continues to feel the impact from the historical mining industry; groundwater, although of good quantative status, has been classified as being of poor chemical status. Water abstracted in the catchment, mostly from surface waters, is predominately for public water supply with approximately 63% of the water licensed for abstraction taken in an average year.

    The catchment host for the Northumberland Catchment is the Northumberland Rivers Trust -

Northumbria Info

The Northumbria RBD, which covers an area of 9,029 sq km, includes Northumberland and County Durham, with small areas of North Yorkshire and Cumbria. Northumbria's landscape is one of extreme variation, from highly industrial urban areas to moors, hills and valleys of the National Park, the Heritage coastline and the Pennines AONB. Approximately 2.5 million people live in the region, primarily in two locations: Tyne and Wear, and the Tees Valley. The most significant cities and towns include Sunderland, Newcastle, Durham, Stockton and Middlesbrough. To the west, a diverse rural landscape supports a range of agricultural activities from livestock and dairy farming to cereal and vegetable production. Forestry is also a significant industry.


The Catchment-Based Approach website is designed to showcase the work of catchment partnerships aross England and Wales and to encourage the sharing and adoption of best practice in stakeholder-led catchment managment planning, delivery and evaluation.


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