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The Eddleston Water Project

The Eddleston Water is a tributary of the Tweed which joins the main river at Peebles.  Over the last few centuries the river and its catchment have been extensively changed, largely to improve agricultural production.  Channelisation, land drainage and the creation of flood banks have led to a loss of natural habitats, such as wetlands and woodlands. This has reduced the ecological quality of the river system, and, together with climate change, increased the risk of flooding downstream in Eddleston and Peebles.

A partnership of local and national organisations are investigating the desirability and practicality of restoring natural habitats throughout the whole catchment in order to bring about a variety of social, economic and environmental benefits.  This group, coordinated by Tweed Forum, includes the Scottish Government, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Dundee University, Scottish Borders Council, National Farmers’ Union of Scotland, the British Geological Survey, the Forestry Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Tweed Foundation and the Environment Agency of England and Wales.

Project Aims
The main aim is to investigate if changes to land use management and the restoration of natural habitats can help improve the river valley for wildlife and help to reduce the risk of flooding in Eddleston and  Peebles.


Specifically, we are:
• demonstrating the multiple benefits and the ecosystem services that would be provided by restoring natural habitats at the catchment more

• working with local communities, landowners, and other organisations to ensure the proposals deliver multiple benefits and meet their more

• helping to adapt to the effects of climate change on flood more

• investigating to what extent restoring the ecological status of the river and promoting land management changes can contribute to reducing flood more

• working with local schools through the Curriculum for Excellence to raise awareness of flooding in the area and encourage pupils and teachers to take an active part in the project and learn about their more

• looking at how the government’s River Basin Management Planning process can work in reality alongside their new framework for Flood Risk Management ; and

• examining the opportunities and barriers to changing behaviour and to implementing such measures, in particular the effectiveness of agri-environment incentives to bring about the required action on the ground.

What has been done...
So far we have carried out the following on 12 separate farms:
• 66 hectares of riparian woodland created which will help increase rainfall interception, evapotranspiration, soil infiltration and slow overland flow.
• 16,000 metres of fencing erected and over 70,000 native trees planted
• 1.8km of river re-meandered. This has increased river length, reduced the slope and speed of the water flow and provided more space for flood waters, as well as creating new habitats and improving the landscape.
• 56 ‘high flow restrictors’ installed that will encourage out of bank flow and hold back water in the headwaters
• 13 leaky ponds created (5000 square metres). These wetland features have a good deal of ‘free board’ built in so that they will store water during intense rainfall events.

Waterbody status under Water Framework Directive classification system has gone from ‘Bad’ status to ‘Poor’, to ‘Moderate’ in recent years.

Eddleston Water Project - Completed Works Map

Go further......
• the initial scoping study carried out by Dundee University that assessed the status of the river, the potential for restoration and how the various facets could be measured
• a report modelling the main river from Eddleston to Peebles, which assesses the opportunities and efficacy for restoration and flood attenuation at a number of key sites
• a detailed design for restoration of the river at Darnhall, one of the potential sites
• a report on the surface water monitoring network
• a report on historical (ca. 1750-1860) modifications to the Eddleston Water and its tributaries (April, 2012)
• British Geological Survey have detailed information on their outputs here
The Eddleston Water Project (2015) - updates the project works completed
The Eddleston Water Project (2013) - a summary of the project works completed
The Eddleston Water Project (2012) - outlines the main aims of the project
• a research poster looking at how flood flows and ecosystems services might change after natural flood management measures are in place
• a map showing the work that has been done by the project
Eddleston Hydrometric Network - latest update (February, 2012)
Eddleston Water Tributary Modelling (February, 2012)










Natural Flood Management Short from ClimateXChange on Vimeo.

Natural Flood Management Long from ClimateXChange on Vimeo.

Two useful links referred to in the two NFM videos above are:
The flooding section of the SEPA website
The flooding section of the Scottish Government website

For further information, please contact:
Luke Comins (Project Manager, Tweed Forum)  -
Professor Chris Spray (Dundee University) –
Roy Richardson (SEPA) -
Debi Garft (Scottish Govt) -




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