River Wye: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the River Wye.

  • The River Wye is the UK’s 5th longest river, at almost 215 km long.
  • It flows from Plynlimon in mid Wales, to the Severn Estuary in southwest England.

  • It forms part of the border between Wales and England for some of its length.
  • Its source is in the Cambrian Mountains, where legend has it there is a sleeping giant.
  • The River Wye flows through Hereford, the only city located along the river. The city’s Victoria Bridge was built over the Wye to celebrate Queen Victoria‘s diamond jubilee.
  • The River Wye is one of the best salmon fishing rivers in the UK. The Wye is also known for sea lampreys, fish a metre in length, capable of moving rocks in their mouths.
  • Covering over 300 square km, the unspoiled Wye Valley is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The area was the birthplace of British tourism, and attracted poets such as Coleridge and William Wordwsorth.
  • The town of Hay-on-Wye is on the River Wye, and it is known for its many second-hand bookshops. In 1977 bookshop owner Richard Booth declared Hay to be an independent country.

River Wye

  • Whitney-on-Wye Toll Bridge was built in 1779 and is one of only 8 privately owned toll bridges in the UK. Cars have to pay the owner a pound to drive across the bridge.
  • The 219 km long Wye Valley walk follows the River Wye for much of its length. A point on the walk marks where the counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire meet.
  • The 12th century Tintern Abbey is on the banks of the Wye, in Monmouthshire. The abbey is said to be haunted by medieval knights, and it was featured in a painting by the famous artist, Turner.
  • Ross-on-Wye is located on high sandstone cliffs overlooking the River Wye. The town’s Wilton Bridge was built in 1597 and funded by taxing the residents of Herefordshire.

River Derwent: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the River Derwent.

  • The River Derwent is 106 km long, and flows entirely in the county of Derbyshire. Half of its course is within the beautiful Peak District National Park.
  • England has three other Derwent Rivers, and there is one in Tasmania, Australia. The name probably comes from an ancient Celtic word meaning ‘belonging to a forest of oak trees’.

  • Its source is at Swains Greave, near the market town of Glossop and near the 633 metre high summit of Bleaklow Head. The Derwent joins the River Trent near Derby.
  • The River Derwent played an important part in the Industrial Revolution. It provided the power for cotton and textile mills, including the first one powered by water, Cromford Mill.

River Derwent

  • A 25 km stretch of the River Derwent is now a heritage site, commemorating the many mills there. Several of these can be visited, as well as cottages in Cromford, built for the mill workers.
  • The popular resort and spa town of Matlock Bath lies on the river. The steep hills known as the Heights of Abraham overlook the river and town and provide wonderful views.
  • Derby on the River Derwent, is one of the places furthest from the sea in England. During the 17th and 18th centuries, it was an important manufacturing centre and railway hub.
  • In Calver, a pretty 18th century bridge crosses the River Derwent. Calver Mill was built in 1805 and was used as a stand in for Colditz Castle, in the television series Colditz.

The River Derwent

  • In the early 20th century, three reservoirs were built along the river, to supply water to Derby, Sheffield and Nottingham. Two villages were destroyed to create the lakes.
  • The upper stretch of the river is similar to the River Ruhr valley in Germany. During World War II, the Dambusters squadron practised using their so-called bouncing bombs on the River Derwent.

What next? Discover more river facts by visiting our rivers resources page.

Yenisei River: Facts and Information

Yenisei River Facts

  • It has a drainage basin of 2.5 million square km, covering a large portion of Siberia.

  • Its average depth is about 14 metres, but some of the waters can be as deep as 24 metres.
  • The Yenisei flows through the city of Krasnoyarsk.
  • Its tributaries include, the Angara River, the Lower Tunguska, and the Tunguska River.
  • The river supports more than 50 different fish species.
  • The Taimyr reindeer herd graze along the banks of the Yenisei during the wintertime.
  • In 2001 Ben Kozel and Colin Angus became the first people to naviage the entire length of the Yenisei River.
  • The river’s name is sometimes written as Yenisey River.
  • The Krasnoyarsk Dam was completed in 1972 and supplies power to an aluminium manufacturing plant.
  • Many ancient nomadic tribes lived on the banks of the Yenisei, including the Ket people, the Yugh people, the Kotts, Assans and Arins.

Yenisei River Fact File

Countries: Mongolia and Russia

Length: Approximately 748 km (465 miles)

Source: Mungaragiyn-Gol Ridge, Mongolia

Mouth: Yenisei Gulf, Kara Sea

What next? Learn more about other famous rivers by visiting our rivers resources page.

Purus River: Facts and Information

Purus River Facts

  • The Purus River has drainage basin of more than 63,000 km squared.

  • The river enters the Amazon river to the west of Madeira River.
  • The Purus River forms a very small section of the boundary between Peru and Brazil.
  • It is one of the most crooked rivers in the world. If you were to measure a straight line from its source to mouth, it would be less than half as long as the river’s actual length.
  • Steamers are able to navigate the river for more than half of its length.
  • The Purus red howler (a species of howler monkey) live in the forests along the banks of the Purus.
  • Its mouth is more than 1000 metres wide.

Purus River

  • Many lakes are formed on the shores of the Purus River.
  • The river used to be known as the Coxiuara River.
  • The American composer Phillip Glass has produced a piece of music called Purus River.
  • The Purus is known for its five river channels running parallel to each other at a regular distance.
  • Throughout history many Amazonian tribes have lived in the Purus drainage basin area, including: the Apurina and Dani people, the Amahuaca, the Apurina, the Junikuni and the Sharanahua.
  • Many rubber plantations are located on the banks of the Purus.

Purus River Fact File

Countries: Brazil, Peru

Length: Approximately 2960 km (1839 miles)

Mouth: Amazon River – it’s one of the Amazon’s tributaries.

What next? Discover more river facts by visiting our rivers resources page.

Japura River: Facts and Information

Japura River Facts

  • When it flows in Colombia, the river is called the Caqueta River.

  • In Brazil, the river can be navigated by small boats.
  • The Japura flows into the Amazon River through a network of channels.
  • The river is home to a massive range of fish and reptiles, including electric eels, catfish, turtles, caimans and piranhas.
  • The American composer Philip Glass named a piece of music after the river. Lsiten to it by playing the video below

Japura River Fact File

Countries: Brazil, Colombia

Length: Approximately 2820 km (1752 miles)

Source: Andes, southwest Colombia

Mouth: Amazon River

What next? Check out some more river facts by visiting our rivers resources page.

Indus River: Facts and Information

Other Indus River Facts

  • The river’s drainage area is approximatley 1.1 million km squared.

  • It’s also known as the Abasin or the Sindhu River.
  • It’s tributaries include: Zanskar River, Dras River, Shyok River, Gomal River and Kabul River.
  • The country of India owes its name to the Indus River.

Indus River

  • The waters of the Indus support many of Pakistan’s heavy industry and much of its agriculture.
  • The Indus River was crossed by Alexander the Great and his army during his Asian campaign.
  • The Indus River Dolphin is a type of dolphin only found in the river. It is an endangered species.
  • In 2010, due to incredibly heavy monsoon rains, the Indus River flooded at Sukkur, Pakistan. More than 1 million acres of farmland was destroyed and more than 2000 people lost their lives.
  • The river flooded again in 2011 in Sindh, Pakistan. It is estimated that more than 5 million people were affected.
  • The Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilization, perhaps with a population as big as 5 million at its peak, flourished in the basins of the Indus River. With ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of the three key Old World civilizations.

Indus River Fact File

Countries: Pakistan, India, China

Length: Approximately 2880 km (1790 miles)

Source: Tibetan Plateau, near Lake Mansarovar.

Mouth: Arabian Sea

What next? Check out our rivers resources page for more river facts.

Ural River: Facts and Information

Ural River Facts

  • Before 1775, the river was known as the Yaik River.

  • It is the third longest river in Europe after the Volga River and the Danube River.
  • It’s major tributaries include, the Kushum, Derkul, Ilek, Or and Suunduk.
  • Most people believe that the Ural river marks the boundary between Europe and Asia.
  • the bridge over the Ural River at Orenburg has Europe carved on one side, and Asia carved on the other.
  • The Ural River delta is an important habitat for animals an birds. Many endangered species live here, including the great white pelican, the pygmy cormorant, the Eurasian spoonbill, the Northern mole vole and the tundra swan.
  • The river’s drainage basin is more than 235,000 square km.
  • It is possible to navigate the river as far as the city or Oral in Kazakhstan.
  • In winter, parts of the Ural River freeze over.

Ural River Fact File

Countries: Russia

Length: Approximately 2428 km (1509 miles)

Source: Ural Mountains, Russia

Mouth: Caspian Sea

What next? Learn more about famous rivers by visiting our rivers resources page.

Yellow River: Facts and Information About Huang He

Huang He Facts

  • It is the third longest river in Asia, after the Yangtze River and the Yenisei River.

  • The Huang He flows through nine of China’s provinces.
  • It’s drainage basin is over 750,000 square km.
  • The river is prone to flooding. In 1887 Yellow river floods took the lives of about 900,000 people., and a similar thing happened in 1931 and 1938.

Yellow River Flood

  • Modern dams have been used to control the flow of the Huang He River, and levees are constantly being rebuilt and redesigned. One of the biggest problems facing the engineers is the build up of silt. Yellow River reservoirs need frequent dredging to maintain their water storage capacity. Although China is able to prevent the Yellow River from flooding under normal circumstances, people believe that the flood defenses won’t withstand a once-in-a-generation flood.
  •  It is called the Yellow River because of the silt it carries in its water.
  • It was sometimes referred to as the River of Sorrow, for the devastation caused by its floods.
  • Nearly half of China’s wheat is farmed from the Yellow River’s flood plain.
  • Some of the Yellow River’s tributaries are: White River, Qingshui river, Wei River and the Dawen River.
  • It carries about 1.6 billion tonnes of silt every year.
  • Yellow River Turtles were traditionally caught in the Yellow River as a food source.
  • It is believed that Chinese civilization began in the Yellow River drainage basin. As a result, it is often called the Mother River.
  • A traditional Chinese saying is ‘When the Yellow River flows clear’. It is used to describe something that will never take place – a bit like the English expression ‘When pigs fly’.

Yellow River Fact File

Countries: China

Length: Approximately 5464 km (3395 miles)

Source: Bayan Har Mountains, Qinghai, China

Mouth: Bohai Sea

What next? Discover some more facts about famous rivers by visiting our river resources page.

Yukon River: Facts and Information

Yukon River Facts

  • The Yukon River’s total drainage area is more than 800,000 square km.

  • The river gives its name to a  territory in Canada – the Yukon.
  • During the Klondike Gold Rush (late 1800s, early 1900s) the Yukon River was the main means of transportation.
  • The Yukon flows past the settlements of Carmacks, Dawson City, Fort Yukon, Russian mission and Pilot station (and many more).
  • Fiver Finger Rapids and Rink Rapids are located on the Yukon River.
  • Only 4 of the bridges spanning the river can support vehicles. These are: the Lewes Bridge, the Robert Campbell Bridge, the Yukon River Bridge (Carmacks) and the Yukon River Bridge (Dalton Highway)

Yukon River

  • In the summer, there is a car ferry across the Yukon River. In winter, when the temperatures plummet, an ice bridge forms on the frozen water.
  • On of the longest salmon runs in the world is located in the Yukon River, and salmon continue to be an important food source for communities living near the river.
  • Some of the Yukon’s tributaries include: Big Salmon River, Stewart River, White River, Klondike River, Indian River, Beaver Creek, Bering Creek and Reindeer River.
  • The name Yukon means ‘white water river’. Glacial silt does make the waters of the Yukon look white.

Yukon River Fact File

Countries: Canada and the United States

Length: About 3190 km (1982 miles)

Source: Llewellyn Glacier (Atlin Lake), British Columbia, Canada.


Tigris River: Facts and Information

Tigris River Facts

  • The Tigris River forms the border between Syria and Turkey.

  • Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, is built on the banks of the Tigris.
  • The river is heavily dammed. Its waters are used to irrigate the semi-desert ares of Turkey and Iraq which are next to the Tigris River valley.
  • The largest dam in Iraq is the Mosul Dam.
  • Before it was dammed, the Tigris used to frequently flood in the Spring after the snow in the Turkish mountains (the source of the Tigris) started to melt in April.
  • It’s drainage basin covers nearly 375000 square km.
  • More than 50 different types of fish can be found in the Tigris River.
  • Mesopotamia is the word used to describe the section of land between the Tigris River and the Euphrates River. Mesopotamia is often called the ‘cradle of civilization’. In the Bronze Age the area was home to the Sumner, Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian empires.
  • Shallow-draught boats can navigate the Tigris River as far as Baghdad in Iraq.
  • The Tigris has four important tributaries – the Greater Zab, the Lesser Zab, the Adhem River and the Diyala River.
  • In 1954, during flood season, the water level in the Tigris rose by over 8 metres.
  • The course of the river has altered over time. Today, the Tigris joins the Euphrates to form the Shatt-al-Arab River, before flowing into the Persian Gulf. In ancinet times, it is believed that the Tigris and the Euphrates had different outlets.
  • The last sighting of lions on the banks of the Tigris was in 1926, but foxes jackals and hyenas can still be seen from the river today.

Tigris River Fact File

Countries: Turkey, Syria, Iraq

Length: 1850 km (1150 miles)

Source: Lake Hazar, Turkey

Mouth: Shatt al-Arab, Iraq (Persian Gulf)

Tigris River

What next? Discover some more facts about rivers by visiting our rivers resources page.