Boston Spa is known for its beautiful River Wharfe and walks along its banks. However, like a lot of rivers in the UK, they have their problems and we are trying to highlight the problems and promote the solutions. We are therefore working with other green groups along the Wharfe to raise awareness about river water quality.  The project is called “iWharfe: improving water quality in the River Wharfe from Oughtershaw to the Ouse” - click here for details.

On 23 August 2021, we sampled the entire 124 km length of the Wharfe and you can read the report here.  It describes data from samples collected from becks running into the Wharfe between Bolton Abbey and Ilkley.  The high values of E. coli in the becks shows that agricultural sources of faecal bacteria are the main cause of the elevated concentrations of E. coli in the main river on that day.

You can also take a look at the clips here from 2020, especially the fly down the Wharfe.

See also Panorama's The River Pollution Scandal for the state of the rivers nationally and featuring the River Wharfe in Wetherby.

What You Can Do

If you see any discharge, take photos, note the day and time and report it to the Environment Agency by emailing them - ics@environment-agency.gov.uk.


  1. Suzanne Anderson on July 17, 2020 at 2:19 PM

    I would very much like to become involved with this group having moved to the area last year and with a keen interest in our environment and what we can do to make a difference in the community locally.

    Please could you let me know how i can become involved with your group?

    • Mike Gadd on July 26, 2020 at 11:33 AM

      Many thanks for your interest. You’ve been added to the group.

  2. Robin Henderson-begg on February 2, 2021 at 1:00 PM


    Me and my wife have recently moved to the area and would love to help out in whatever way we can!

    • Mike Gadd on February 4, 2021 at 5:38 PM

      Welcome to the area. You’ve been added to the group and we’ll be in touch about getting involved.

  3. Pauline Hogg on June 27, 2021 at 9:57 AM

    I was talking to one of your group members last night who told me about your activities and I have now looked at your website and would love to get involved. I live in Tadcaster so hope that will be within your area. I am very impressed with everything you are doing.

    • Mike Gadd on June 28, 2021 at 7:53 AM

      Hi Pauline, great to hear from you. There is the iWharfe project happening this summer and I’ll forward an email to you separately.

  4. Janine Harris on November 11, 2023 at 11:35 AM

    I would like to be involved with this group and have subscribed, however, I am unsure of what activities you have that I can physically participate in. One of my main concerns is about the amount of rubbish I see, particularly along the river. Do you have an groups or sessions which meet physically ?

    • Mike Gadd on November 12, 2023 at 2:15 PM

      This is currently a group that participate in carrying out works along the riverside. Activities that are scheduled in the next few months are repairs to footpaths, hedgelaying and some works to stop erosion of the riverbank. Let us know if you would like to participate in any of these activities.

      You might also be interested in the group that picks litter in the village at different locations.


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