Dash beck

Dash Beck flows into Bassenthwaite Lake,. Our fish surveys showed it was under-performing as a salmon and trout spawning ground, so in summer 2019 we completed a habitat improvement project. 

Our walking guide (.pdf) takes you on a tour of the site.

The issue

The River Derwent and Bassenthwaite Lake is a protected ‘Special Area of Conservation’. This is partly due to its salmon and trout populations. Dash beck, which flows into the lake, should be a good area for fish to lay their eggs and young fish to grow, but our electro fishing surveys showed there weren’t many fish using this stream.

What we did…

With Bassenthwaite Rotary Club we undertook walkover surveys to identify ways we could improve the stream habitat. In summer 2019 we completed a small project on the downstream end of the Dash beck at Scarness.

Tree management

Fish love overhanging branches and tree roots for shelter and hiding from predators. Trees also shade the water, keeping it cool, but too many trees make the stream too dark for algae to grow and this limits the food for fish and insects. We cut back some branches to let light reach the stream and laid some trees into the beck to provide more cover and hiding places for fish.


By fencing off the watercourse we have not only improved the footpath, but stopped any livestock from accessing the stream. This reduces the amount of manure in the water and prevents livestock trampling the river bank, which can result in silt entering the water and harming fish.

Bank stabilisation

In five areas where the river bank was eroding, we have installed bundles of tree cuttings into the bank then added willow cuttings which will continue to grow. These ‘brash bundles’ will trap silt and protect the bank from erosion, reducing the amount of silt getting into the water. These areas will also grow to provide shelter for fish.

Footpath improvements

As well as benefiting wildlife, this project has improved the footpath heading down to the lake. Moving the fenceline has made the footpath wider and we’ve cut back the overgrown vegetation. Scarness bay is a lovely, quiet part of the shoreline; we recommend you give it a visit. 

Walking guide

Bassenthwaite is a lovely area to walk in. so why not have a stroll to see our work? We’ve suggested two circular walking routes (4 km or 7 km) that showcase what we have done and the beautiful surroundings.

Download the guide: Dash beck walking guide (.pdf)

Funding and support

The project was only possible due to funding and support from the Derwent River Corridors Group, Lake District Foundation, Lake District National Park Authority, the Woodland Trust, Bassenthwaite Rotary Club and numerous volunteers.

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Photo Gallery


Name Type Size
Dash beck walking guide pdf 1.1 MB