Allan Water Improvement Project

Check out our interactive map for the Allan Water Improvement Project here

The Allan Water Improvement Project engages with landowners and managers to identify and implement multiple ecosystem benefits to the Allan Water catchment including: fishery improvements, attenuating flood risk via Natural Flood Management (NFM) and the improvement of the natural environment. The work is carried out by a project officer supported by a steering group consisting of governmental and non-governmental organisations.

The aims of the project are to work with and support land managers to:

  • deliver natural flood management (NFM);
  • deliver water framework directive actions;
  • and seek opportunities for multiple ecosystem benefits to benefit the environment of the Allan Water catchment.

The delivery of these aims will include actions that directly benefit fish populations and the fishery including the easement of barriers to fish passage; control of invasive non-native plants; and attenuating diffuse pollution.


  • Scottish Government
  • SEPA
  • Forestry Commission
  • RSPB
  • Stirling Council
  • Perth & Kinross Council
  • SNH
  • Allan Water Angling Association
  • Stirling University
  • Forth District Salmon Fishery Board

What’s happening?

Craigton Riparian Woodland and NFM orchard

Native woodland in the riparian zone is important on river banks and flood plains for attenuating downstream flood risk due to their complex structures; secondary production to the aquatic ecosystem via woody inputs; and provide cover for fish species from predators. 670 Riparian woodland trees -also known as wet woodland trees- and 49 orchard trees were planted on the floodplain covering a combined area of 1.7ha by The Conservation Volunteer’s Natural Flood Management Apprentice via the Natural Talent Scheme in 2013-2015. AWIP from 2015 to present has contributed support to the Craigton Community Orchard Group, and maintenance of the riparian woodland to help establishment of the woodland.

Dunruchan Farm Peatland Restoration Project

Peatland restoration is important for storing and sequestering carbon, improving water quality and attenuating downstream flood risk. The Dunruchan Farm Peatland Restoration Project delivered 48.2ha of restored upland blanket bog located in the Knaik subcatchment of the Allan Water, Perthshire. The project was funded by SNH’s Peatland Action Fund and consists of: 790 peat dams; 10.4km (10365m) ditch and gully reprofiling; 6 wooden sediment traps; further 40m of peat dams; 10m trench bund; and 7 plastic dams.

Allan Water Barrier Easement Project Phase 1

A number of structures are impacting on the Water Framework Directive’s Ecological status for waterbodies and impeding fish passage in the Allan Water catchment. As a result, a technical assessment and identification of next steps for 11 structures, and a catchment appraisal and assessment of a further 6 structures identified as potentially impacting fish passage were carried out. The Project was funded by SEPA’s Water Environment Fund and the study carried out by Royal HaskoningDHV. Since the completion of the project’s phase, the project officer has started Phase 2 by acting on the information in the study report and engaging with structure owners to deliver barriers to fish passage easement works.

Mid-Cambushinnie Brash Bank Protection

The middle reach of the Allan Water suffers from actively eroding river banks, which result in large amounts of fine sediment in the river system that impact on the health of the aquatic habitat, such as gravels and water quality. The Mid-Cambushinnie brash bank protection work used 14 volunteers over the course of two days to carry out brash bank protection work on a 35m section of bank face.  Subsequently, the project officer has sown a grass seed mix sown onto the bank face and procured 90m of stock fencing at the top of the bank to exclude cattle. The project was inspired by, and supported with advice from the Wild Trout Trust.

Buttergask weir fencing

The Buttergask Burn is a tributary of the Allan Water that suffered from a historical dilapidated weir affecting geomorphology and fish passage, and from cattle poaching related diffuse and source pollution. The weir developed a bypass channel during the winter of 2015/16 at a section of the burn. To secure the use of the bypass channel for fish, it was decided to fence off 36m of the burn to exclude cattle and maintain channel form and depth. Subsequently the weir was removed during a high rainfall event, but the fence was installed anyway due to the positive contribution excluding cattle and their associated pollution affects in this section will have.

Knaik Subcatchment Monitoring Project

The Halcrow-CRESS Allan Water Natural Flood Management Techniques and Scoping Study, 2011, used hydrological modelling to estimate that the River Knaik subcatchment of the Allan Water contributes on average 23% of the flood peak that arrives in Bridge of Allan. Bridge of Allan is the furthest downstream Potentially Vulnerable Area to flood risk in the catchment. Funding was received to establish the River Knaik subcatchment as a monitoring catchment to compare the hydrological modelling carried out during the Halcrow-CRESS scoping study with actual data, and to validate the success of any NFM measures established in the subcatchment. The monitoring consists of four flow gauges and three rain gauges that are in the process of becoming operational.

Allan Water Invasive Non-Native Species Control

The Allan Water catchment is one of the most infested catchments within the Forth District for Giant Hogweed. Giant hogweed starts near Greenloaning and has spread all the way down to the River Forth.

Since 2012, the River Forth Fisheries Trust has undertaken control on the Allan Water to try and reduce the amount of giant hogweed along its banks. Giant hogweed can cause major issues for rivers by out competing native vegetation which can then cause bank erosion and destabilisation in the winter.

Over the past 4 years the Trust has coordinated volunteers to tackle giant hogweed along the river, volunteers have been trained in the appropriate licences for treating giant hogweed, equipment provided to volunteers with support from staff to apply for extra licences and help coordinate the work.

The amount of giant hogweed treated is dependent on the number of volunteers who come out and help us and our other dedicated volunteers treat giant hogweed. If you would like to help treat giant hogweed on the Allan Water, please email Amy or Lawrence


SUMMARY Report -Dunruchan Farm Peatland Restoration Project Learned Learned


Natural Flood Management Handbook:

Allan Water Natural Flood Management Techniques and Scoping Study report: