A farming couple in Yorkshire has started a petition to dredge the River Derwent near Keswick on the back of a flash flood last week killing 58 of their ewe lambs.

Dan Simpson and Ruby Cappleman of Seatoller Farm, Borrowdale, lost the lambs on Friday (September 30) after heavy rainfall caused their fields to flood.

The couple are calling for the attention of the National Trust, the Lake District National Park, the Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency.

“The fact that this happened with the amount of rain is ridiculous. We have had a lot more rain before without the extent of the whole valley flooding,” Cappleman said.

“Something needs to happen with the rivers, if certain areas of the river were dredged the water would not come over as fast in certain areas.”

The water hasn’t covered this field in the 20 years since the Simpsons have farmed at Seatoller, they added.

Cappleman said that trying to save their sheep was “completely heartbreaking, traumatic and horrendous”.

She said that action was needed urgently to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.


The couple’s change.org petition currently has over 1,800 signatures.

In the petition description, Cappleman writes that the floods constantly force “farmers to risk their lives”.

“In the wettest place in England, we should really have a lot more resilience against this issue,” she said.

“We can’t let this problem go on anymore, something needs to be done.”

“Bring back dredging. If we don’t make a change, it will result in more damage to the environment, more loss of livestock and even loss of life.”

The Environment Agency carefully chooses locations to dredge where it knows it will make a difference to reduce flood risk.

It cites the serious and long lasting negative impacts on the environment as the reason that dredging is not the first solution thought of.