It all began with a river. The name Lowther derives from an old Scandinavian word meaning foamy water. The family took its name from the river Lowther. So yes, it is this river, winding its way from Keld near Shap and joining the river Eamont outside Penrith, that is at the heart of the estate.
In the UK, the vast majority of rivers have been canalised. The Lowther is no exception. The consequence of this canalisation is that natural functions are restricted. Loss of habitat and a lack of natural floodplain functionality ensue. So in 2019 and 2020 the Lowther Estate team undertook extensive work to reconnect the river Lowther and its tributaries to the natural floodplain. This slows down the flow of the river, holding back water on the floodplain. Flash-flooding downstream is prevented. A wonderful environment for wading birds and a huge abundance of insects is restored.
Today vast numbers of waterfowl are returning to the floodplain – which no longer runs dry, as it used to. Wetland plants have been introduced to create more diversity in the ground structure. Everything benefits – the landscape, the river, the wildlife.