Wear

    The Wear catchment stretches from the eastern North Pennines to the North Sea coast, encompassing the majority of County Durham. The river is formed at Wearhead, from the confluence of Burnhope and Killhope Burns, and flows east through Weardale to Bishop Auckland before turning north and flowing through Durham and Chester-le-Street before reaching the sea at Sunderland. The total catchment area is approximately 1080km2 and the main river is approximately 97km long. There are many tributaries, the largest being the Rivers Browney and Gaunless. The source area of the catchment is characterized by grass moorland with heather and blanket bog and the dominant landuse in the river valley is agricultural, changing from pastoral agriculture in the west to more mixed arable farming in the east, with various-sized urban settlements along the river's course. County Durham is well-known for it's industrial history and the landscape is heavily influenced by the past, although only a relatively small amount of industry remains in the east of the catchment. The Wear valley saw lead mining, limestone quarrying and coal mining and the abandoned mines and spoil heaps now contribute heavy metals to the river system. Other pollution pressures that have arisen more recently include sewage treatment works discharges and combined sewer overflows, agricultural runoff and urban runoff.

    In addition to pollution, another significant problem the catchment faces is barriers to fish migration. The European Water Framework Directive demands free passage for all migratory fish and eels upstream to their breeding habitat. Failure to provide this results in a less than 'good' status for a river or stream. Eventually this will lead to fines imposed on the UK by the European Council and, at a more local level, obstructions to fish passage lead to declining populations of fish and eels with knock-on effects on the rest of the ecosystem and the local economy. Whilst it may be a popular pastime on the Wear to watch fish jumping up weirs, bridge aprons and other structures, these obstructions need to be overcome by easements or fish passes.

    The River Wear provides an excellent opportunity for many leisure pursuits such as angling and rowing or simply strolling beside the water and enjoying its wildlife. The river and its catchment are potentially fragile ecosystems which need to be respected and treated with care. The Wear catchment is home to a wide variety of wildlife which depends on the river to feed, breed and live; including birds, mammals, invertebrates, fish and plant species. Ospreys have been sighted fishing in the catchment and the mining heritage in the upper catchment has influenced the distribution of metal-tolerant river invertebrates and led to the establishment of unique plant species which can survive on the mobile river gravels composed of mine spoil. Some of these species are protected due to their declining numbers and diminishing habitats; these include bullhead, salmon, water voles, otters and heavy-metal-tolerant plants.

    The Wear Rivers Trust is keen to protect wildlife within the catchment and to encourage and manage a healthy balance within the ecosystem. Sometimes this includes managing non-native and invasive species which threaten the river banks and our natural biodiversity.

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

    http://www.wear-rivers-trust.org.uk/

    Information coming soon!
    Information coming soon!
    Information coming soon!

    The catchment host for the Wear Catchment is the Wear Rivers Trust

    http://www.wear-rivers-trust.org.uk/

    WRT logo

    Tel: 01388 488867

    Wear Rivers Trust Limited
    Low Barns
    Witton-le-Wear
    Bishop Auckland
    County Durham
    DL14 0AG

    Information coming soon!
    Information coming soon!

    Wear Catchment

    The Wear catchment stretches from the eastern North Pennines to the North Sea coast, encompassing the majority of County Durham. The river is formed at Wearhead, from the confluence of Burnhope and Killhope Burns, and flows east through Weardale to Bishop Auckland before turning north and flowing through Durham and Chester-le-Street before reaching the sea at Sunderland.

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.

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