The River Derwent in Cumbria is one of the fastest rivers in Europe. It is also one of the most beautiful, and it flows through fantastic and varied countryside from its source in the heart of the Lake District. The name Derwent translates as 'oak river' and/or 'river of oaks'; it is an ancient name. There is evidence of occupation and industry along the river from the Iron Age onwards, and industry still uses its power and speed as a water source. A fine and famous salmon river, the River Derwent was sometimes called 'the river of saints and sinners', as it was used by smugglers as well as clerics. Beginning at the river mouth, we follow the river through the port of Workington, through the lavish countryside of Cumbria to its source amidst the dramatic mountainous splendour of Borrowdale. Along the way, H. C. Ivison brings to light tales and stories of fascinating events, landmarks and people. River Derwent: From Sea to Source is essential reading for anyone who knows this river well, and also for those who are visiting the River Derwent for the first time.
Helen Ivison is an local history author and active member of the Curwen Heritage Theatre, an amateur dramatic group which staged Shakespeare plays in Workington Hall before it was shut to the public amid health and safety fears. Helen wants more done to promote and safeguard Workington's heritage but admits she is not sure how best to accomplish this, particularly in a cash-strapped climate where arts and heritage are not always top of the agenda.