Raindrop To River: A New Exhibit On How Our River Systems Work Is Opening At The Keswick Museum

Visit the Riverlands exhibition at Keswick Museum to discover how the famous Lake District rain impacts people, nature and climate as it flows through our landscapes and through our lives.

Brought to you by the National Trust Riverlands project and West Cumbria Rivers Trust, learn about the work being done to restore the River Derwent catchment to a functioning and sustainable system. This family friendly, interactive exhibit features as part of Keswick Museum’s 2023 Natural Science Year and explores how humans influence rivers and their wildlife and how rivers in turn impact on our lives and communities. The exhibition runs from Saturday 5 August until Sunday 10 September in the museum’s Community Gallery, which is free to enter and open daily from 10am–4pm.

To help bring the exhibit to life, you can also take part in some free fun additional activities: Join a member of the Riverlands team for some hands-on play and find out how to create mountains and rivers during a guided interactive sand box session. Drop in with the family between 12–2pm on Monday 14 August and Monday 4 September and use augmented reality to make it rain! Sessions are suitable for children over 6 years old.

‘Think like a river’ and find out how a river flows, whilst exploring all the curious creatures in our rivers through river simulator fun and river dipping with West Cumbria Rivers Trust on Saturday 19 August from 1–3pm. Book your place in advance via Keswick Museum’s website and don’t forget to bring your wellies and your waterproofs for this family friendly activity.

Jodie Mills, Trust Director at WCRT, said: “It’s wonderful to partner with the National Trust on this project and offer families the opportunity to learn more about our most precious resource. There’s fantastic work happening and it’s really important that everyone understands more about what we’re doing and why. Come along and find out more.”

On Wednesday 16 August from 1–2pm, visitors can learn about the history, importance and health of Lake District rivers and the work that the Riverlands team and West Cumbria Rivers Trust have been doing to bring them back to life by joining a lunchtime talk with Lake District Riverlands Project Manager, Becky Powell and West Cumbria Rivers Trust’s Catchment Partnerships Officer, Caitlin Pearson. ‘Water and us’ aims to increase awareness about the award-winning river restoration work taking place on several sites across the county, making space for nature and benefitting communities and wildlife to ensure a sustainable future. Those wishing to attend can book in advance via Keswick Museum’s website.

Becky Powell says: “Rivers shaped the Lake District following the last ice age and subsequently, we have shaped the rivers. Creating this exhibition with West Cumbria Rivers Trust has been a great reminder on how rivers flow through every aspect of our landscape, from the minute the rain drop leaves the cloud. Unfortunately, our rivers and lakes, and the iconic species they support, such as Atlantic Salmon, Otter, Arctic Charr and Vendace, are in trouble. Pollution, degraded habitat, artificial barriers and climate change are making life very difficult for our freshwater species.

The Cumbria River Restoration Strategy has delivered projects across the County with the aim of bringing our rivers back to life. West Cumbria Rivers removed 2.5km of plastic lining from the river Keekle, allowing it to thrive once again. Through Riverlands we have restored peat bogs on Armboth Fell to hold water and carbon, we have completed several river restoration projects including low intervention approaches at Stonethwaite in Borrowdale, to large scale re-wiggling in Ullswater and we have looked at how restoring ponds across a landscape can store water and boost wildlife at Dunthwaite.

Join us on a raindrops journey through the landscape and learn more about the inspirational work being done to save our rivers.”

The National Trust Riverlands team and West Cumbria Rivers Trust along with other partners, won the European River Prize last year, gaining international recognition for their important river restoration work in Cumbria. Taking action to restore clean and healthy rivers, the partnership is working to help make the Lake District more resilient to climate change, providing opportunities for our much-loved nature and wildlife to flourish and creating a thriving eco-system that will benefit everyone for years to come.

For more information on the work being done in the Derwent River catchment, please visit:

Derwent Riverlands project | Lake District | National Trust

West Cumbria Rivers Trust (WCRT)

For more information on the Raindrop to River exhibition, please visit:

Raindrop to River | National Trust

This exhibition is held in the Community Gallery at the Keswick Museum and will run from 5th August to 10th September. 

Peat bog restoration at Armboth Fell. ©National Trust Images/Roby Grange Photography

Related Events at Keswick Museum

14th August and 4th September - Interactive Riverlands Session. 2-4pm. Just turn up.

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Wednesday 16th August - Lunchtime Talk - Water and Us. 1-2pm. Booking required.

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Saturday 19th August - Think like a River. 1-3pm. Booking required.

Book Now