Reconnecting the River Dearne

This project will focus on the River Dearne, with the aim of removing physical barriers at a critical point on the River Dearne to assist with fish migration, increase habitats and improve water quality.

The Project

The DVLP will work with The Don Catchment Rivers Trust to improve the connectivity and ecological quality of the River Dearne by introducing schemes to overcome existing barriers to fish migration and naturalise historically straightened sections of channel on the River Dearne. The work proposed is to be carried out at in the vicinity of the junction between the River Dearne and Knoll Beck. This will involve:

  • Manufacture and installation of Low Cost Baffles on Bolton upon Dearne weir.
  • Manufacture and installation of Low Cost Baffles on Old Moor lower weir.
  • Adjustment of sheet pile weir Old Moor upper weir.
  • Installation of Groynes below Old Moor on the River Dearne.

The groynes will increase flow variability and a diversity of habitat on the canalised stretch, increasing in-channel morphological diversity. The result will be the provision of a good spawning and nursery environment for fish from the Dearne. There will be water quality benefits as a result of the remobilisation of sediments which in turn will be of benefit to invertebrates and, of course, an improvement in the general ecology.


Running river

The River Dearne is physically at the heart of the Dearne Valley but ialso economically, historically and socially. It has been a driving force for change in the area, being one of the key reasons for industry of all sorts developing in the Dearne Valley. At the height of industry within the Dearne the river became polluted and undervalued as it was used as a way of disposing of waste. It has taken decades for the water quality to improve, but it has done and wildlife has returned Due to past land drainage and flood defence works, the River Dearne is canalised and relatively featureless for approximately 600 metres below the two weirs. This section of river is a Heavily Modified Water Body (HMWB) with the lower weir being a ‘significant’ barrier to fish. The Don Catchment Rivers Trust undertook feasibility work investigating the feasibility of the removal of one of the weirs and an easement or a fish pass on the other.