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The Big River Watch – 3rd-5th May 2024

    The rivers trust logo

    Did you know? There’s a free and easy way to help support your local river! Twice a year we run Big River Watch weekends – a simple citizen science activity that helps build a picture of river health across the UK and Ireland.

    Our spring Big River Watch will be from 3rd – 6th May 2024.

    river watch pic

    Our rivers are far from healthy. They’re polluted with sewage, plastic, chemicals and nutrients, and just 15% of river stretches in England are in good overall health. This isn’t good enough.

    When it comes to restoring our rivers, we need even more information about how they’re doing. You can help us identify and locate the issues.

    So whether you’re a swimmer or a paddler, an angler or a rambler, a wildlife spotter or a sit-and-watch-er, download the app and complete the quick survey today! However you love your river, Big River Watch is a chance to be part of the movement improving our freshwater spaces. In just three easy steps, you can contribute to a national data set that will help us build a picture of river health.


    Download the free Big River Watch app

    Download the Big River Watch app on the Apple App Store or with Google Play

    Step 1: Download the app

    Download the free Big River Watch app on your smartphone before visiting your chosen river.

    Step 2: Take part

    Pick a riverside location, spend 15 minutes observing and answer the questions on the survey. You can complete the Big River Watch at your favourite local spot, or choose to get to know somewhere new.

    Step 3: Upload

    river watch survey

    Upload your Big River Watch survey. It’s that simple to get involved!

    You’ll tell us about the things that you see – from wildlife and plants, to the flow speed of the water and whether you can spot any pollution. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, use our handy in-app ID guides for pollution and wildlife.

    Then our river specialists will analyze the results. We’ll share data too, so that it can be used by other environmental organizations, journalists or community groups it to help in the fight for healthier, wilder rivers.

    The app and survey are open year-round, so you can keep recording useful information about your local river at any time, if you wish.


    Share your experience and your photos on social media using #BigRiverWatch.

    Over 5,000 of you took part in our first ever Big River Watch weekend on the 22-24th of September 2023, working together to submit over 3,600 surveys. The results from that weekend showed that almost 60% of you were new to citizen science and 73% of you thought your river looked healthy, but 54% of you also spotted signs of pollution. Help us grow the survey and learn more about our rivers in our spring Big River Watch weekend, between 3rd – 6th – May. We’re better when we’re #TogetherForRivers.

    Why is Big River Watch needed?

    Rivers are suffering from a deluge of pollution, and all across the UK and Ireland our vital freshwater ecosystems are failing their health tests. To change this, we need to know where our rivers are having the problems and which problems are the most prevalent. The free and open Big River Watch survey is your chance to make a difference. Data gathered during Big River Watch can support policy change; helping turn the tide on plastics or stem the flow of untreated sewage. It also helps identify the best places for river clean-ups and litter picks, or places which would benefit the most from the creation of things like wetlands.

    I want to help protect our rivers