Water and rivers

Water quality

Bristol's rivers, Floating Harbour and park lakes are routinely tested. See our water quality page for more information.

Bristol Avon Catchment Pilot

A management plan for the Bristol Avon river and its tributaries is being developed through a DEFRA funded pilot project. Find out more on the Bristol Avon River Catchment Management Plan (BARCmp) website.

Facebook page

Rivers of Bristol facebook page

Rivers in Bristol

The River Avon, sometimes called the Bristol Avon, flows from east to west through Bristol via the Floating Harbour and through the spectacular Avon Gorge to the Severn Estuary. The River Avon is fed by many tributaries on its journey through Bristol.

Big blue rivers map of Bristol (pdf, 311 KB) (opens new window) .

A number of rivers in Bristol are designated as Local Nature Reserves.

Walk guides and group activities

River walk guides and group activities on the Bristol Rivers website.

Discover Brislington Brook Project

This Heritage Lottery funded project runs from 2011 to 2014 and works with youth groups, community groups, schools, volunteers and other organisations on river related activities.  It provides opportunities for learning, participation and conservation.

It is led by Brislington Community Partnership and supported by Bristol City Council and Young Bristol.  Please contact:

Rowan Matthiessen, Co-ordinator (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays)
Telephone:  0117 922 3407
Email: rowan.matthiessen@bristol.gov.uk

Get on Board Campaign

This is a multi partnership campaign to protect and improve the Floating Harbour water environment.

Get on Board information leaflet (pdf, 460 KB) (opens new window) .

Water Awards Scheme

This scheme recognises and rewards boats moored in Bristol’s Floating Harbour that follow good environmental wastewater disposal. The scheme precedes waste disposal checks planned for  2011/12 for all boats with a mooring agreement / license. Commercial water award recipients:

  • Glassboat and Spyglass.
  • Grain Barge

All boat owners in the harbour are encouraged to apply for the award.

Operation Streamclean

An investigation team identifies properties with illegal wrongly connected drainage to improve water quality in rivers. This is a tri-partite initiative with The Environment Agency and Wessex Water.  View the Operation Streamclean leaflet (pdf, 0.6 MB) (opens new window)  to find out how to make the right drainage connections at properties.

Operation Streamclean is a local initiative. Connect Right is the national campaign working to identify illegal drainage connections in the UK.

Avon Invasive Weeds Forum

Invasive weed species such as Himalayan Balsam, Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed are spreading rapidly along Bristol's rivers and streams. Bristol City Council, Bristol Zoo and the Environment Agency are partners in a DEFRA funded two-year project 2012 - 2014 to eradicate weeds along local rivers. For information on surveys, control and getting trained for and involved in volunteer events contact:

Neil Green, Avon Invasive Weeds Project Officer
Email: neil.green@bristol.gov.uk  
Avon Invasive Weeds Forum website

Sustainable urban drainage and green roofs

Please contact us to request a set of national and local case studies.

South Bristol Riverscapes Project

This Heritage Lottery funded project has finished. The final report is available in hard copy at Bishopsworth Library and the Central Library, or you can download a copy below:

South Bristol Riverscapes Project Final Report (pdf, 19.8 MB) (opens new window)