The Rivers Project
A study by the Welsh Archaeological Trusts in 2020 identified that historic assets that are poorly recorded or understood are at a greater risk from the effects of, and responses to climate change, with rivers and riparian environments being highlighted as particularly vulnerable.
The cultural heritage of rivers is widely acknowledged as a key aspect of the human story and the management of water is central to the development of people and society in Wales from deep prehistory to the present day. Weirs have been created to regulate water flow to improve fishing, to create power systems for food production and other industrial activity, and for irrigation and drainage. Bridges and other features to cross rivers and streams have been installed along traditional route ways throughout Wales and settlements have historically been protected through embankments, culverts and other artificial structures to manage water.
All of these historic assets are under threat from both climate change, through increased rainfall, runoff and erosion and environmental improvement schemes which may involve the removal or modification of structures like weirs to improve river flow and fish migration. At its core, the River’s Project was conceptualised to make sure that as many features as possible were recorded for posterity within the Historic Environment Record and that the generation and enhancement of good-quality data would help inform better managements decisions for the historic assets in our care.