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Bowmont Catchment, Tweed Catchment


Catchment Information

The Bowmont Water is a headwater of the River Tweed, Scottish Borders. The Bowmont catchment (86km2) is predominately rural with less than 2% of the catchment developed for buildings or roads. The main settlements along the upper Bowmont are Town Yetholm & Kirk Yetholm. A total of 475 properties are situated in the Bowmont catchment (Scottish Census 2001).

The land use is comprised of upland cattle and sheep grazing (pasture and rough moorland), conifer woodland and intensive game bird rearing. The underlying geology is of lower Devonian layered lavas that are overlain by glacial till on hillslopes and alluvial fill in the valley bottoms. The  annual average rainfall is 1050mm.

The valley has a history of significant flood events. Following  extreme floods in 2008 and 2009, Tweed Forum (through the Cheviot Futures initiative) began to look at more natural ways to tackle coarse sediment problems and manage flood risk.

Stage of project

Work in progress

Monitoring Undertaken


Modelling Undertaken


Project Descriptions

The main focus of this project is to collect empirical data to determine how NFM can be used as a flood management tool and to identify other multiple benefits such as improved habitat.

A  range of measures have been installed in the catchment from 2012 onwards. In total 78 leaky barrier structures - including bar apex engineered log jams (ELJs) have been installed in the catchment.  The ELJs are mainly located in the Swindon Haugh area, at Kelsocleuch and at Clifton.  In addition flow restrictors have been installed on the Elm Sike. Alongside these structures, large areas of native trees have been planted on floodplains most notably at Swindon Haugh and Venchen resulting in 1-2% of full catchment area planted. However, 10% of the Calroust sub-catchment (6km2) a tributary of the Bowmont Water, has been planted by the private landowner. In addition novel wooden structures and willow plantings for protecting river banks have been installed at Clifton, Kelsocleuch and Calroust.  An interception hedge has been planted at Keslocleuch.

There are 10 water level monitoring stations, three rain gauges and two time-lapse cameras operational in the catchment (in a multiscale nested design). The sites have been operational since 2012. These are complemented by a long term flow and weather monitoring station at Sourhope (15+ years of data as part of the Environmental Change Network programme). A COSMOS soil moisture monitoring station is associated with this site. Geomorphic responses and coarse sediment movement in the river corridor has also been monitored with topographical surveys, sediment tracers, photo analysis and sediment impact sensors. 

Tweed Forum

James Hutton Institute

Roxburghe Estate

Calroust Estate


Scottish Natural Heritage

Scottish Government