August 2020

Building on the success of our 4Becks project last year we are now working together with Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, Ilkley Clean River Group and the Environment Agency to conduct a survey of water quality of the River Wharfe.

The project is called iWharfe: “ Improving water quality on the River Wharfe from Oughtershaw to the Ouse: a citizen science project” or “The River Wharfe Big Health Check”, for short.

On Monday August 24th 2020 five teams of citizen scientists will be taking water samples from the Wharfe to obtain a snapshot of water quality conditions along the entire length of the river for a single day.

Water quality in the upper reaches of the river is good but as the river flows down through Addingham, eventually to the Ouse south of York, the river becomes progressively polluted by runoff from agricultural land and discharge from septic tanks and sewage treatment plants

The project aims to draw attention to the problem of river water pollution and, at the same time, help to find solutions.  Where are the pollution sources? How serious are they? Who is most at risk from faecal bacteria? What can be done to make the water safe for recreation? And how can wildlife be protected and restored?

The sites to be sampled are shown on the map

We will be responsible for Zone 3 which stretches from Bolton Abbey down through Addingham to Denton Bridge in Ilkley.  Addingham samples will be taken from the Wharfe at High Mill, the Suspension Bridge and Low Mill, and samples will also be taken from our village becks, Wine Beck at Olicana, Town Beck in Church Field and Lumb Beck at Ilkley Old Road.

For more information visit: or email

And finally thanks to members who contributed to our crowdfunding appeal.  We raised £3,000 in record time!