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Learning programmes for schools
and youth groups.

"I was hesitant as my kids have never stayed at a hostel before, but when we first parked the car and I saw children running around, I had a feeling it would work out fine. Fine, it did! The self-catering kitchen was a great hangout place for the family and to make a simple meal. At first, my teenage son was disappointed that the free wifi did not extend to the bedroom, but the kids made up their own games and it turned out to be one of the best nights we had as a family."

August 2019


The small river that flows through our grounds is called Barrow Beck (part of the River Derwent drainage basin). Along the course of the beck, from its source on Ashness Fell to its entry into Derwent Water, we can make measurements of the channel and flow, and study the processes of erosion, transportation and deposition.

We are lucky to have a dramatic waterfall in our grounds (part of Barrow Beck) and this provides fantastic inspiration for a wide range of activities. For example, we can study the hydro-electric plant that has been installed on Barrow Beck. The hostel is able to use the electricity which is generated by the hydro-electric plant.

Rivers and fluvial processes have a significant influence on the landscape and communities of Borrowdale. What are the relationships between humans, water, and the physical environment in Borrowdale? The Lake District, and other parts of Cumbria, experienced severe flooding in 2009 and 2015. The banks of our beck were badly damaged in 2015, along with our water pipes and hydro-plant, and we have photos of the damage and repair works. We can study the circumstances of the floods and learn about the ongoing responses to these events.

The Lake District provides fine examples of differently sized rivers, allowing us to study their influence on the environment, culture, and economy of the Lake District and beyond.

Sample activities

  • Have a tour of the hostel hydro-electric scheme
  • Walk along Barrow Beck, from source to mouth, making measurements and sketches along the way
  • Go gorge/ghyll scrambling 
  • Visit Cockermouth and learn about the new flood defences
  • Have a talk from the Environment Agency/National Park/National Trust about their different responsibilities for rivers and flood management.
Derwentwater Independent Hostel
Barrow House
CA12 5UR
Telephone: 017687 77246

Thank you to Geoff Williams, Rebecca Laff, Fiona McCarthy, John and Sam Snyder, and KTA for generously providing inspiring photographs.
Thank you to Lisa Bamford at Stoats and Weasels for designing our website, and to Sam Snyder for building it.
© 2013 Derwentwater Independent Hostel. All rights reserved. Registered charity: 1145368