Reedbed restoration project comes to a close

South Cumbria Rivers Trust (SCRT) is set to complete its reedbed restoration project around Lake Windermere this March and volunteers are needed for their last two reedbed restoration events.

21st March 2023

Surpassing a target of 800sq metres, SCRT have restored 2010sq metres of reedbeds at eight sites over the last 18 months, with a range of restoration techniques being used.

Reed cage construction and plug planting will be taking place this March at Graythwaite and Rayrigg Wyke. More information about these events can be found here:

Not only do reedbeds act as natural pollutant filters they are priority habitat for fish, birds and invertebrates. SCRT have been working hard to restore as many reedbed sites around Windermere as possible, including Hill of Oaks campsite, Galava in Ambleside, Low Wray, YMCA Lakeside and more.

The project was funded by United Utilities, through the CaST programme, as part of its commitment to work with partners to improve the wider catchment around Windermere.  Since 1870 reedbeds around the lake have declined by over 90% due to changing lake levels, increased boating activity, wildfowl and an increase in nutrients.

Kath Smith, SCRT community engagement officer explains, ‘This partnership project has been a great opportunity for people to get actively involved with restoration projects on their doorstep.

As well as addressing water quality issues through reedbed planting, we have tried to address public perception by engaging communities with nature.’ Demonstration days and talks with local community groups and schools in the Windermere catchment have been carried out alongside practical delivery works. Developing knowledge about whether reedbed restoration can be used as a biodiversity offsetting tool has also been an important objective of the project.

Sion Platts-Kilburn, Catchment Manager for United Utilities, said: “We were delighted to be able to support this fantastic project.  It’s wonderful to see so many volunteers helping to restore the reedbeds and it’s a great example of how by working in partnership we can deliver real, tangible benefits to Windermere and the land surrounding the lake.  

Reedbeds are a great example of how natural solutions can be used to improve water quality. It’s all about getting the right mix of hard engineering alongside nature-based solutions, and we will be looking to make more of these opportunities in the coming years.”   

SCRT and United Utilities are two of the founding members of the Love Windermere partnership. The group is developing evidence-based, long-term plans to maintain and improve water quality in the lake while balancing the needs of nature, the community and the local economy.