The River Welland rises above Market Harborough and flows through the gently rolling countryside of Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, before reaching Stamford where it is one of the features that makes the town so attractive. Below Stamford, the river continues on its way to Market Deeping and Spalding where its character changes, slowing down as it becomes one of the four fenland rivers which drain the Fens, before entering The Wash.

People have relied on the Welland for thousands of years for water, food, drainage, transport and energy and as a result, the River and its valley have changed enormously. For example, the River used to flow through the Trinity Bridge in Crowland, which is now almost a mile away and the bridge is now a dry monument in the centre of the town.

While many of these changes have been positive, such as the creation of the water meadows which were such an important feature of the Welland Valley, others have been destructive. Although we have seen vast improvements in water quality, we are left with the legacy of some of these changes, particularly those associated with the physical nature of the river, how it behaves in draining the land and how much water flows in it. There are also other newer pressures affecting the river, such as sediment from fields.

The Welland Valley Partnership has recently been set up to bring a wide range of partners together, including the Welland Rivers Trust, to try to solve some of the problems. The Rivers Trust was set up by volunteers who want to see a better river and to act to achieve it. We are pleased to be part of the Partnership and to take a central role. A lot of work is already being done to try to improve water quality and wildlife habitats in and around the River. Now we want more people and organisations to get involved in identifying what else needs to be done and helping to make a difference.

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