Wath Bridge

A Place Of Quiet Contemplation

Wath Bridge straddles the River Ehen at Low Wath in West Cumbria, with two sandstone arches. This stretch of the river is known as Hen Beck by the locals, and is one of the places I used to play as a youngster. I still visit the quaint bridge to this day, as do many others with their picnics.

During summer months, as the crystal clear water trickles by, and birds sing their heartening songs, all tensions fade away into oblivion. It’s the perfect place for quiet contemplation. Hen Beck offers up tranquility for those wanting to get away from it all.

  • The word ‘beck’ is Northern English. It is used as the common term for a brook with a stony bed or following a rugged course.
  • Wath is from Old Norse, meaning ford. It is related to wade.

The River Ehen flows from Ennerdale Water, and out to the Irish Sea on the north west coast. The river supports the largest freshwater pearl mussel population in England.

Exceptionally high densities of mussel are found at some locations along the length of the river, with population estimates exceeding 100,000. The conservation importance of the site is further enhanced by the presence of juvenile pearl mussels.

The freshwater pearl mussel is one of the longest-lived invertebrates known, and individuals can survive up to 250 years. Imagine living through all that history. Wow!

Wath Bridge, Wath Brow, Cumbria
Wath Bridge Sketch


    1. I haven’t Steve. I’ve found numerous empty shells through the years. I do hope people haven’t been looking for them, as removal is illegal.

      There has been a little controversy in this neck of the woods over the mussels. Our water supply was from Ennerdale Water – which also feeds into the river. One summer when river levels were low, it was said that a kill-event occurred and thousands of mussels died. As a result, the utility company lost their licence to extract water and have invested £300m on a new pipeline, with water being extracted at another lake – but because the water is slightly harder, people don’t like it, and have been taking to social media, etc, to complain. Some even say that they shouldn’t have to suffer with poor quality water because of mussels.

      Personally, I don’t believe we have any right to do as we please. The mussels were there long before we were all born. In my book, they are our equal. The government was right to revoke the extraction licence.

      I guess everyone doesn’t think the same way about nature as I do. Lol.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Your artwork is inspiring, and the article fascinates me with the names so distant from my own world. I have distant relatives from Ireland, as many people do in this country of America. I would love to go there and soak it all In.

    Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.