Our lives Our River Wear

Our rivers run through our communities like the veins in our bodies

Their water, like our blood, makes life possible
The healthier they are, the healthier we are

Together, we can work to protect and improve our river for ourselves and each other

Scroll down to learn more or visit the map to explore the Wear

The flow of history

The Wear's history helps to make us
the people we are

Our river has always been there,
helping to build our regional identity…
it's unique (just like us)

It's played a central part in out homes,
our businesses and folklore


The legend of the Dun Cow

Tasked with finding a final resting place for St. Cuthbert’s body, monks were pointed toward 'Dun Holm' by divine intervention. Disorientated, the group happened upon a milk maid who had last seen her 'Dun Cow' at that very spot

With the destination reached, St. Cuthbert was laid to rest and the vestiges of Durham Cathedral were erected. The rest, as they say, is history…


The Great Chases

These hunting expeditions were led by the Prince Bishops and were by all accounts grand occasions indeed. Their plentiful and jealously protected hunting park in Weardale was well stocked with game: deer, wild boar and even wolves

It was home to the famous 'Great Chases' which were celebrated with much feasting, wine, pomp and pageantry


The land of lead and coal

Eastern County Durham was part of the Great Northern Coalfield and the western dales were once just as important for their lead

Although started by the Romans, the heyday of lead mining was not until the late 1700s to the mid 1800s, when the North Pennine lead field was arguably the most important in the world


The Lambton Worm

The tale tells of John Lambton, heir of the Lambton Estate and fisherman, who tossed his catch (an ugly black worm) into the village well, only for it to grow into a monster that terrorised local villages for seven long years

Eventually the beast was defeated by the crusade-hardened fisherman himself, who was left with a curse for his troubles


What folly is this ?

Penshaw Monument (officially ‘The Earl ofDurham's Monument’) was built in 1844 and is dedicated to John George Lambton - The Earl of Durham and the first Governor of the Province of Canada

Standing on the 136m high Penshaw Hill, the monument is a half-sized replica of the ‘Temple of Hephaestus’ in Athens

Our river today


That’s how many of us currently rely on the Wear

That’s a lot of people, which puts our river under more pressure than ever before

Using our river

How do you use the Wear? Tick all that apply to you…

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We can all help

Typically, river health has been managed without the direct help of local people

But working together perhaps we can get more done on the ground (and in the water)

Let's get ready for action

Local people just like you feel strongly about our river, see for yourself…

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    Sinnead Livingston

    Folk Musician

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    Leanne Hardy

    Par Petroleum

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    Jim Wood

    Angling Club Trustee

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    Julie Corrigan

    Esh Winning Primary

…they've been directly involved with the organisation who have produced an action plan: you can download a copy of it here…

Download the action plan

Be part of the solution

There are many things we can all do to improve and protect our river

  1. 1

    use it

    It sounds silly, but…

    …by using it more, we’re showing others that it’s worth taking care of (a forgotten river can easily become an unhealthy one)

    So whether we’re bird-watching, running or
    fishing, in the water or on the bank, there’s lots
    we can do to enjoy the Wear more

    Getting to know your own section of the
    river better and talking about it will help
    build awareness

    If you’re already a river user, share your passion with others and become an active contributor to our Facebook community

    Our river on facebook
  2. 2

    Get stuck in


    A great way to get involved and be part
    of a caring community. Opportunities exist
    to get hands on and help with litter picks,
    monitoring or working to improve habitats

    Here are some local organisations
    you can contact:

  • Durham
    Wildlife Trust

    Help our Living Waterways Team and learn the skills for a career in conservation, or just get outand about in nature, volunteering with us is a great way to meet like-minded people and make a difference. Anyone can volunteer with us

    There are lots of opportunities, from practical work to surveying, office-based research and helping with environmental education. Email Michael Rogers or telephone 0191 584 3112

  • Wear
    Rivers Trust

    Anybody who cares about the river environment and wants to make a difference to their local streams

    Water quality monitoring, surveying, making practical habitat improvements and cleaning up our rivers and streams. Assist with applications to fund projects

  • Groundwork
    North East

    Whether looking to gain work experience, broaden your horizons, fulfil your passion in environmental issues or simply want to give a few hours a week to a great community cause, Groundwork can help you do something special

    Many of our staff began as volunteers. From administrative to practical roles such as conservation tasks, volunteer walkleaders, play rangers and lumber-jills, we can offer something to suit everyone

  • Durham
    County Council

    County Durham’s countryside encompasses the wild beauty of the moors, mysterious woodeddales, sweeping coastal scenery and wildlifehavens nestled amongst urban areas. Volunteer with us and help us to look after our countryside.

    Opportunities to help include practical work, helping with guided walks, litterpicks, assisting with events at our VisitorCentre, patrols, fundraising and officebased tasks



Everyone can do their bit to protect the water environment by taking small steps

Your household waste

By making better choices when buying and disposing
of household products we can keep harmful chemicals
out of our sewers. Buy eco-friendly products and
dispose of paint, oil, cleaning products and other
chemicals at a local waste collection site and not
down your drain to avoid polluting our river

Put wipes, nappies, cotton buds, dental floss, cotton
wool, pads, tampons, applicators and other bathroom
waste into a bin and not down the toilet. Even items
that claim to be ‘flushable’ or ‘disposable’, such as
face wipes or cleaning wipes, should always go into
the bin. These products do not break down like toilet
paper does when flushed and can end up
washed up on riverbanks and beaches

If you’re unsure what can safely be put down
the toilet or sink, and what should go in a bin,
ask Dwaine Pipe at www.loveyourdrain.co.uk

Your litter

Garden waste, mattresses,
shopping trolleys, and general household rubbish,
no matter how small can cause damage to our local
wildlife and lead to blockages in our rivers.
Help keep our rivers clear of litter by disposing of
rubbish at your local council waste collection site

Your car

From anti-freeze to engine oil and brake fluid,
our cars are full of things that could damage our
river, should they reach it through our drains
- and small amounts can cause big damage

Keep your car well maintained to help our river

Your dog

Dog waste is a natural thing, but the sheer
amount of it on our streets and its location
(often next to our storm drains)
can cause pollution

Be sure to always scoop-it, bag-it
and bin-it to stop harmful bacteria being
washed into our water system

Download Factsheet

The truth is,
that when it comes to our river…

Working together for a healthier river wear

…we can make a real difference working together


Get in touch

You can engage with us through Facebook (and interact with other interested people too). If you don’t have a Facebook account, but do have questions, you can email us here:
  • 1. Personal information

  • 2. Your message / question

  • 3. How do you use the Wear ?

  • E.g. fishing and dog walking.
  • 4. Send message...