About

Our objectives

West Cumbria Rivers Trust has a crucial role to play in raising awareness and increasing understanding of West Cumbria’s rivers and lakes. We do this by connecting with people locally to make a positive difference to the health of rivers, lakes, people and wildlife. To this end we have three core objectives, each with a specific set of goals.

Connect

Engaging communities and partnership organisations to enjoy our rivers and lakes by connecting people with rivers and nature.

Goals:

  • A healthy river catchment is relevant and accessible to the West Cumbrian community who are actively engaged in protecting and securing its future.
  • The Trust is a well-respected and highly visible charity recognised as the leading organisation for river catchment management in West Cumbria.
  • Encouraging active participation of local people in the management of rivers

Improve

Restoring natural processes within the catchment and making changes on land to optimise the passage of clean water for flood mitigation and water quality whilst improving habitat and connectivity.

Goals:

  • Improving natural habitat, river processes and water quality through an array of different projects across West Cumbria
  • Promoting good practice to improve water quality and the movement of water
  • Making changes in the landscape to hold and manage the passage of water more effectively

Protect

Protect the unique biodiversity of our catchments by connecting habitats to protect wildlife at a catchment scale.

Goals:

  • Thriving wildlife habitats throughout our catchment
  • Working towards more natural and dynamic river systems
  • Promoting a network of resilient habitats improving connectivity for migratory species

What we do and why

A large number of issues affect our freshwater environments from pollution to habitat modification, invasive species and flooding. Click here to find out more about them.

We use the techniques below to address these issues:


Tap image below to view more.

Meet the Team

We are a dedicated bunch of environmental professionals from varied backgrounds. We are all passionate and enthusiastic about our work to improve and protect the varied watery landscapes and ecosystems within central and western Cumbria.

Ian Creighton

After many years invaluable service to the Trust, Ian now advises colleagues and partners on a wide range of projects and issues.

Ian previously worked for Environment Agency (and its predecessor) for over 16 years and this included spells in fisheries, water resources and pollution control.

Ian is passionate about Cumbria and improving our rivers for fish and a myriad of other species, both plants and animals. He lives in Keswick.

ian@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Karin Crofts

Karin joined the Trust in 2011 as our invasive non-native species (INNS) coordinator. She then successfully bid for and set up our Catchment Partnerships before moving on to delivering projects to improve land management, water quality & habitat creation.

Karin is currently delivering our People on the Keekle project, working on the Lower Keekle and Longlands Lake.

Karin previously worked for the Environment Agency, Bassenthwaite Reflections (HLF funded) and she was fortunate enough to work with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in the West Indies.

In her spare time Karin likes to play outdoors and eat cake.

karin@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Philippa Chadwick

Phil has been working at the Trust since 2015, and is the River Ehen Project Officer.

Phil has a background in conservation, including working for the Forestry Commission and the National Trust. She has a BSc in Zoology from Aberdeen University - and did once work at a zoo!! In her spare time you’ll find her helping on the family farm or playing rugby.

philippa@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Chris West

Chris joined us in 2015 as a Project Officer working on the Freshwater Mussel project within the Wasdale valley.

Chris previously worked with Eden Rivers Trust after completing a BSc Geography at Newcastle University. Outside of work Chris helps run the family beef and sheep farm near Workington.

chris@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Ruth Mackay

Ruth is our Fisheries Project Officer working on several projects but primarily the River Derwent electrofishing programme. She lives on the west coast of Cumbria in Whitehaven. A keen geographer, she has a BSc in Physical Geography and an MSc in Polar and Alpine Change. Throughout her degrees she studied a range of topics but with a particular focus on geomorphology.

In her spare time Ruth loves to read and spend time knitting, sewing, gardening, baking, cycling and hiking.

ruth@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Caitlin Pearson

Caitlin joined the Trust in May 2017 as Catchment Officer, working on our Catchment Partnerships, action plans, monitoring and delivering projects. Caitlin previously worked as a Project Officer for the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust after finishing her PhD on the effects of farming on stream invertebrates.

Caitlin enjoys spending her spare time cycling, running, orienteering and swimming in the lakes.

caitlin@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Jonny Kidd

Jonny is our St Johns Beck Site Officer. He grew up on a working farm in the Eden Valley and then moved to the north-east to study a BSc in Environmental Science and a Ph.D looking at the effects of long-term fertilisation on soil carbon.

As a keen cricketer, Jonny plays regularly for his local team in the summer. He also enjoys road cycling and walking in the Lake District fells.

jonny@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Clair Payne

Clair joined us in 2018 as the Glenderamackin Project Officer, working with landowners and farmers to deliver natural flood management and habitat creation projects. She has previously worked as a ranger for the National Trust in the South Lakes and volunteered for The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) in Leeds. She has a BSc in Geography from Newcastle University.

In her spare time, Clair enjoys riding her mountain bike and swimming in many of the Lake District’s wonderful tarns.

clair@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Annabelle Kennedy

Annabelle is the Natural Flood Management Project Officer covering the Cocker catchment (Loweswater, Crummock and Buttermere). She recently worked for Morecambe Bay Partnership, and previously with Wildlife Trusts managing a variety of conservation projects and nature reserves. She studied for an MSc in Protected Area Management, and previously gained post-graduate qualifications in Bird Conservation & Ornithology and Biological Monitoring & Species Identification. In her spare time, she looks after her animals and small acreage of land.

annabelle@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Cathy Gruba

Cathy manages our learning and engagement programme and has a background in ecology and environmental education. She comes from a long line of teachers and thinks that is where her passion for education and engagement comes from. Cathy’s favourite place to be is in her wellies in the river with schools and communities. In her spare time, you will find her walking her dog Flynn on the saltmarshes and mosses of the Solway coast.

cathy@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Esther Foster

Esther is our Freelance Project Officer, helping out the team when required. She has a background in outdoor education, gained a BA in Outdoor Studies from the University of Cumbria, and is studying part time for an MSc in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education through the University of Edinburgh. In her free time Esther spends a lot of time in the outdoors, mainly climbing and mountaineering.

Izzie Mullin

Izzie is our Assistant Project Officer, working to manage invasive non-native species (INNS) in the Derwent Catchment. Having previously gained a BSc in Environmental Geography from York and interning with the USNPS as a water quality monitoring intern, she then joined the trust as a voluntary intern in 2020 to gain more practical conservation experience. Izzie has previously assisted with our NFM monitoring, electrofishing surveys, INNS removal and tree planting efforts. She is excited to start her new role with the Trust and get stuck into tackling the INNS across West Cumbria.

In her spare time, you’ll find Izzie in a freezing cold lake, up a fell, or enjoying making her own clothes in front of a fire.

izzie@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Sarah Clarke

Sarah is our Project Assistant Trainee working on our Restoring the Derwent project. Sarah has recently completed a Countryside Worker apprenticeship with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, before which she volunteered with the National Trust. She is eager to use her skills and knowledge on this exciting project.

In her spare time Sarah enjoys running, being out in the fells, reading, baking and eating cake.

sarahclarke@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Carol Suddaby

After spending many years in retail customer service, Carol is our new office manager. Having always loved being outdoors more than indoors, and being keen to be involved in improving our local environment, she started volunteering with us in February 2021. Initial involvement with invasive species projects led to tree and hedge planting and maintenance, wild flower planting, electrofishing and enjoying helping out with anything else she could get involved with….and eventually office management.

In her free time, Carol can usually be found at the allotment, up a fell, swimming in a river or lake (temperature dependent), at the pottery studio, fermenting and pickling vegetables at home, or playing with her granddaughter, among all the many other things…. there’s always too much to do and never enough time!

carol@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Tom Malone

Tom is one of our part time Voluntary Interns. Currently studying a BSc in Woodland Ecology and Conservation at Ambleside, he is interested in learning all aspects of the Trust’s work to further his education and learn new skills. In his spare time Tom can be found walking in the woods or roller skating in Carlisle.

tom@westcumbriariverstrust.org

David Taylor-Norman

David is one of our part time Voluntary Interns. Currently studying a BSc in Zoology at the University of Cumbria, he is interested in learning all aspects of the Trust’s work with an aim to help with community engagement in conservation, and gain knowledge about how conservation is undertaken.

In his spare time David can be found climbing rocks or looking for insects!

david@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Emma Jenkinson

Emma is our Assistant Education and Engagement Officer. She loves working with children and has a varied background in teaching, environmental education and nature conservation.

After having some time away to raise her family she has more recently been working as a freelance Forest School practitioner, frequently covered in mud (!), at Longlands Lake.

In her spare time she enjoys lots of little adventures with her young family, and many, many trips to the ice cream parlour!

Mia Ambrose

Mia is our Freelance Forest School Practitioner, spending two days at Longlands Lake supporting local children to love and care for their natural world as part of our People of the Keekle Project. Mia has spent over 20 years working with all ages and abilities, delivering and developing outdoor and environmental education. She’s keen to broaden her conservation skills so is volunteering with us when she has time around freelance outdoor education, puppy training her energetic Vizsla, biking, swimming, fell walking and parenting.

Directors

Jodie Mills - Trust Director

Jodie, our Trust Director, started with us in November 2014 following a four-year conservation adventure on St Helena in the South Atlantic. Originally from North Yorkshire, she still can’t believe her luck at taking on this job with such a wonderful team and in such a fantastic location.

Jodie has worked in many parts of the UK and for a number of organisations, including the Wildlife Trust, the National Trust, a number of small charities, and County Councils.

Jodie helps the Trust deliver all its objectives and overcome the many challenges and hurdles along the way. Her particular passion is community engagement and education. She goes by the great David Attenborough’s mantra: “No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”

Vikki Salas - Assistant Director

Vikki joined the Trust in January 2013. She manages our successful Catchment Partnership work alongside managing a team of staff, overseeing the delivery of some of the Trust’s significant projects and managing the Trust’s consultancy work. As part of the senior management team Vikki works to ensure the Trust is successful and continues to deliver an ever increasing portfolio of delivery to improve our rivers and their catchments for people and wildlife. Vikki was born in bred in Keswick, and pleased to be back living and working in her home town, having previously worked as a Senior Ecologist in Leeds. In her spare time Vikki can mostly be found enjoying the outdoors with her young family.

vikki@westcumbriariverstrust.org

Luke Bryant - Assistant Director

Luke joined us in 2017 as the new Assistant Director, overseeing the river restoration programme. He previously worked for an environmental contractor and has a background in environmental restoration and outdoor education. Luke is constantly amazed and inspired by the team at the Trust. Whilst there are always challenges associated with improving the natural environment, there is real joy to be experienced when projects start to take shape and get delivered.

Having lived in Cumbria for 18 years Luke is passionate about the natural environment and, when not working, enjoys canoeing and walking with his young family and Labrador, Benny (official office-favourite dog).

Trustees

We are governed by a Board of Trustees, comprising leading West Cumbrian businesspeople, environmental professionals and representatives of the public sector and wider community.

Our Board has the necessary range of skills and expertise to manage a charitable trust. The Board meets ten times a year and all meetings are minuted per Charity Commission guidance.

Trish Dunlop

Trish has had a passion for the environment since persuading her chemistry teacher to take their sixth form class on a trip to her local sewage works! This led to a degree in Environmental Chemistry and subsequently a job as a Pollution Inspector with what is now the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

She moved south to live in the Lake District more than twenty years ago since when she has worked for Sellafield in a variety of roles relating to compliance and improvement for environment, health and safety.

She has relished bringing up her three children to enjoy the fells, rivers and lakes around them and the family are often to be found messing about in our lovely clean waters.

Having seen at first hand from her kids the positive impact that learning initiatives such as Forest Schools have on our next generation, she is keen to get involved, and muddy, with the Trust’s education and volunteering projects.

Mark Hastings

Mark is committed to the conservation of rivers and working to protect the great outdoors. As a keen salmon & trout fisherman Mark knows that most anglers are conservationists at heart and their role as the eyes and ears on the river banks is crucial in detecting pollution incidents while also recognising the presence of wildlife that is so often the barometer of healthy river systems.

Professionally Mark is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and works for Cumbria County Council in social care. This involves operating in an increasingly challenging environment and includes managing the £28m budget and supporting major changes in service redesign.

Mark has lots of positive energy and believes that anything is possible! We are delighted he has joined our Board of Trustees for both his enthusiasm and the invaluable HRM support and expertise he is able to provide the Trust.

Ross Hayman

Ross cares for a stretch of the River Marron which runs through his smallholding in West Cumbria, and is passionate about enhancing biodiversity and encouraging wildlife.

He lives with the river every day, and has worked in partnership with the Trust on a range of flood alleviation measures that also enhance the environment. These have included tree-planting, river bank protection, erosion control, wooded debris installations, holding water on the floodplain and minimising run-off from fields.

A parish councillor and primary school governor, Ross is a communications professional by trade and specialises in strategic communications, community relations and public consultation.

In his spare time, Ross enjoys walking his labrador Max over the Cumbrian fells, along its rivers and around its lakes.

David Magrath

Dave is, first and foremost, fascinated with all things water and rivers, what swims and lives in it, what surrounds it and, what effects its health and wellbeing. He is also a keen angler which periodically allows him to spend time on the river bank putting theory into practice.

In the professional area of his life Dave is the Head of Commercial for Sellafield Ltd. He has worked in the nuclear industry supply chain in a senior role for more than 25 years, primarily at Sellafield but also across other UK nuclear sites. The majority of this time has been spent leading supply chain strategic programmes focussed on “whole Life” acquisition cost as well as a broad commercial management role.

Dave brings drive and enthusiasm to the dealings of the Trust as well as strong commercial acumen.

Ruth McCooey

Ruth has worked for The Outward Bound Trust for the last 16 years as Head of Finance, a role that suited not only her professional skills but also her personal belief in the outdoors being an essential component of a balanced life as well as providing the opportunity for learning and challenge to young people.

Now contemplating retirement, she is glad to be able to put her professional skills to good use and help, as a Trustee, a charity with aims and objectives very close to her heart.

Ruth was born on the edge of Morecambe Bay and spent her childhood on the shore, fields, hills and woods around Silverdale. Studying Physical Geography at University led to few career avenues other than teaching. Keen not to go down that route a career in Accountancy strangely beckoned and she gained qualifications as an ACA, now FCA and as an ATII (Taxation). Leaving practise, she branched into industry and then into the not for profit sector.

If not enthralled within the complexity of excel spreadsheets Ruth can be found walking around the countryside, reading, listening to music or sleuthing with genealogy and discovering family trees & stories.

Ian Payne

Ian began volunteering for the Trust in 2020 and came to appreciate the importance of the work that is undertaken, both for the environment and for the volunteers themselves.

Having worked for Allerdale Borough Council for some 35 years in a variety of roles, aspects of the Trust’s work chimed with some key experiences from his professional career. As Emergency Planning Officer during the 2009 floods, he was acutely aware of the devastation caused and hence the value of mitigation measures upstream. Being responsible for the Council’s Environmental Services and working with some of the Borough’s more disadvantaged communities, it was apparent that the quality of the local environment had a massive bearing on residents’ quality of life.

Ian now hopes his public sector experience can support the Trust in delivering its objectives.

A fan of world and independent cinema, Ian has been Director of the Keswick Film Festival since 2017.

Jane Saxon

Jane lives in the Eden valley with her husband James and their two children Oliver and Harriet. She’s had the great pleasure of working for The National Trust for the last 10 years as a General Manager in the North and West Lake District, looking after a portfolio of assets including Lakes, fells, a historic house, woodlands and farms, and leading a wonderful and passionate team of people.

Before moving to the National Trust, she spent eight years running her own consultancy, working in business development across the North West with some outstanding organisations in the arts, tourism and the farming industry.

She’s been actively involved as a school Governor, a Trustee at Calvert Trust and sitting on various boards including RDPE and Cumbria LEP visitor economy group. In her spare time, Jane loves being outdoors with her family, enjoying cycling, running and recently, wild swimming.

Chris Gray

Chris initially became involved in the Trust through volunteering on electrofishing surveys. By late 2019, he was a voluntary intern and mainly helped with learning and engagement.

Chris is passionate about the Trust’s work. He has always had an appreciation for being outside and the natural world, whether through his running and fellwalking hobbies, or fieldwork for his Earth Science degree.

He currently works as a surveyor, part of a project to map all of England’s churchyards in 7 years. Despite this, Chris plans to continue his relationship with the Trust and is excited to be appointed as a new trustee member.

Andy Richardson

Dr Andy Richardson is a marine and fisheries ecologist, but with a wider interest in aquatic and riverine ecology, landform conservation and also has a history of sourcing and delivering on project funding.

Andy also sits on the northwest committee of the Royal Society of Biology (RSB), of which he is also a Fellow (FRSB), and is an appointee to the North West Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NWIFCA).

Helen Baker - Volunteer minute taker

Helen’s interest in the environment began on an O’ Level field trip to Gibraltar Point near her hometown of Skegness in Lincolnshire. This led to a degree in Geography and a passion for travel and the environment which included many visits the wild places of the world.

Her love of Cumbria was built on rainy October half term holidays hiking the hills with her father and sister, and in 2019 she fulfilled a lifelong ambition to relocate to the county.

Helen has had a successful career in financial services working for a major international bank where she gained experience of project and programme management, technology and operations including a period as Chief Information Officer for an offshore branch. More recently Helen has worked locally for an employee benefits company. She is now on a “grown up gap year” and focussing her time on contributing to making a positive change for the environment and the people of Cumbria.

Matt Buckley

Matt Buckley has been a trustee with WCRT since 2020. Matt has held an interest in ecology and the natural world since early childhood. He has a degree in Environmental Science and lives beside a small watercourse and so, has an understanding and appreciation of many of the topic areas relevant to the project work of the trust. He works for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, based in West Cumbria, as a Strategy Manager looking after waste treatment and storage. He is married to Julie and they have three sons, Dylan, Jacob and Elliot.

Patrons - Lord & Lady Egremont

We are delighted to welcome Lord and Lady Egremont as patrons of West Cumbria Rivers Trust. In showing their committed support to the Trust, Lord and Lady Egremont add prestige and credibility to our cause. His Lordship has been a dedicated supporter of the Trust through financial donations and also opening up his home at Cockermouth Castle for fundraising events.

Lord and Lady Egremont

Partners and Supporters

And thanks to...

  • Charlie Poate (GIS support volunteer)
  • David Crowe (IT support volunteer)