The Catchment

The project area is located in the upper catchment of the Twizell Burn, a tributary of the River Wear to the west of Chester-le-Street. It covers the source of the burn near the settlement of Annfield Plain and follows it as it flows through the outskirts of the town of Stanley. The study area is approximately 7 km2 covering urban and semi-rural areas to the south of Stanley.

For the purposes of this project, the study area will be broken down into four sub-areas, initially chosen to represent semi-independent hydrological catchments, as well as distinct urban areas. The study area of Stanley South consists of the two Durham County Council electoral divisions Stanley and Craghead and South Moor with slight incursions into Annfield Plain.

The whole area also comes under Stanley Town Council.


Accessing the great outdoors, and therefore Natural Capital, particularly green and blue spaces, has been shown to have significant positive benefits for mental health and wellbeing. Additionally accessing nature can increase awareness and appreciation of it, which in turn increases the likelihood of wanting to protect and conserve it.



The increase in impervious surfaces like roads, roofs and pavements in towns, and the compaction of soils from heavy farm machinery or overstocking reduce the amount of water that can escape through the land surface. Poor infiltration of water to the subsurface soils results in increased overland flow and an increase in flood risk. Over-development of land in the floodplain reduces the available space for temporary water storage during high rainfall, leading to more damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure.

Flood Risk

As part of the Government’s long-term flood risk assessment the Environment Agency has published two key data sets which show areas at risk of flooding and the level of flooding from Rivers & the Sea and Surface Water.

Risk of flooding from rivers


Fluvial flood risk shows the predicted risk of flooding from rivers and sea. ‘High’ risk indicates there is a greater than 3.3% chance of flooding each year. ‘Medium’ risk is between 3.3% and 1%, ‘Low’ is between 1% and 0.1%, and ‘Very Low’ is less than 0.1% chance of flooding in any given year

Risk of flooding from surface water


Surface water flood risk shows where water is likely to flow and accumulate on land surfaces during high rainfall events. Surface water flooding is particularly important in urban areas where run-off from built-up areas with impermeable surfaces can be a significant contributor to the flooding. The surface water flood risk map can also be helpful in identifying opportunities for creating natural flood management features to enhance water storage and slow the water in areas where it is naturally accumulating, but not causing a problem.