During 2010 the Ebchester Village Trust brought together a wide range of groups and authorities who had an interest in the environment of the River Derwent at Ebchester.  The main areas of concern were the poor condition of the weir following storm damage a couple of years earlier; and the general condition of the boathouse with its limited facilities

Thanks to the Environment Agency and Durham County Council the weir was repaired during 2011 and a fish pass was installed to aid the migration of fish.

Encouraged by these events the group established the Ebchester Boathouse Development Partnership to redevelop the boathouse and to encourage greater recreational and educational use of the river and the local woodland

Project Brief

  • To create a facility that can accommodate approximately 15 children on residential outward bound activity breaks.
  • To enable more than one group to be able to use the facility at any one time by segregating out areas of use e.g. wet and dry areas, residential use and day use areas etc.
  • To make use of renewable energy technologies such as hydro-power and solar water heating.
  • To use green building principles incorporating timber frame building, use of natural facing materials such as stone and timber and incorporation of a green roof.
  • To minimise impact on the local environment and reliance on national networks by installing eco-friendly WC and waste water facilities.
  • To rationalise boat storage in order to minimise conflicts in use of space.


At this stage, until we have all of the match funding we need to complete the project and all of the feedback from stakeholders, it does not make sense to develop plans in too much detail.  We have developed concept plans to use in funding bids however, these plans will change as they are developed.  We need to know how local people would want to use such a facility so any feedback you can give us would be used in the design development process.  We have had initial contact with the planning service to ensure that they are aware of the project and are in agreement with it in principle.  We will continue to work closely with planners and key partners such as the Environment Agency to ensure the final design meets legal requirements.

We will continue to consult with local people throughout the lifetime of the project.

August 2015. The concept plans have now been revised to allow the project to proceed in two stages. The first and most crucial stage will be to erect a new building to house toilets and changing facilities. Once those facilities are in place more people will be able to use the river for water-based activities. During the second stage the boathouse will be rebuilt, with a modest increase in floor space, and linked to the changing room block. A package of documents to support a planning application is now almost complete and should soon be ready for submission. Funding bids for the first stage have been submitted and decisions are awaited.

June 2018. Planning Consent for a new boathouse has now been granted by Durham County Council. Applications for other necessary consents are being prepared. Some of the funding for the project has been secured and further applications are in progress. View 0106