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River Foss

River Foss

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The River Foss is an improved river in North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire is a non-metropolitan or shire county located in the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England, and a ceremonial county primarily in that region but partly in North East England. Created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972 it covers an area of , making it the largest...

, England, and a tributary of the River Ouse
River Ouse, Yorkshire
The River Ouse is a river in North Yorkshire, England. The river is formed from the River Ure at Cuddy Shaw Reach near Linton-on-Ouse, about 6 miles downstream of the confluence of the River Swale with the River Ure...

. It rises in the Foss Crooks woods near Oulston reservoir close to the village of Yearsley and runs south through the Vale of York
Vale of York
The Vale of York is an area of flat land in the north-east of England. The vale is a major agricultural area and serves as the main north-south transport corridor for northern England....

 to the Ouse. The name most likely comes from the Roman word Fossa, meaning ditch and is mentioned in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

.

The responsibility for the management of the river's drainage area lies with the Foss Internal Drainage Board
Internal Drainage Board
An internal drainage board is a type of operating authority which is established in areas of special drainage need in England and Wales with permissive powers to undertake work to secure clean water drainage and water level management within drainage districts...

 (IDB). It has responsibility for the area from Crayke to the pre-1991 city boundary of York covering 9,085 hectares and 162.54 km of waterways. The Foss IDB is itself part of the York Consortium of Drainage Boards that oversees 10 IDB's in the Yorkshire region.

The typical river level range at the Foss Barrier is between 5.05m and 7.90m. The highest river level recorded at this location was 10.20 metres and the river level reached 9.34 metres on 23rd Jan 2008.

Course


The source of this river is a spring situated in the Howardian Hills
Howardian Hills
The Howardian Hills form an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in North Yorkshire, England. located between the Yorkshire Wolds, the North York Moors National Park and the Vale of York. The AONB includes farmland, wooded rolling countryside, villages and historic houses with parkland...

 adjacent to, and flowing into, Oulston
Oulston
Oulston is a village and civil parish in Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, England. It lies about three miles north-east of Easingwold. Remains of a Roman villa have been found in the area.Four sites in the area are scheduled ancient monuments:...

 Reservoir near Newburgh Priory
Newburgh Priory
Newburgh Priory is a large house near Coxwold, North Yorkshire, England. Standing on the site of an Augustinian priory, founded in 1145, it is a stately home in a rural setting with views to the Kilburn White Horse in the distance...

, 4 miles (6.5 km) north of Easingwold
Easingwold
Easingwold is a small market town and a civil parish in North Yorkshire, England. It has a population of 4,233.It is located north of York, at the foot of the Howardian Hills....

. From there to the Blue Bridge
Blue Bridge (York)
Blue Bridge is the name of a bridge in York, England crossing the Foss just above its confluence with the River Ouse. The original bridge on the site was built in 1738, the current one being constructed in 1895....

 in York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

, where it joins the River Ouse
River Ouse, Yorkshire
The River Ouse is a river in North Yorkshire, England. The river is formed from the River Ure at Cuddy Shaw Reach near Linton-on-Ouse, about 6 miles downstream of the confluence of the River Swale with the River Ure...

, it is 19.5 miles (31 km) in length. For part of its way it runs close to the B1363 between Brandsby and Stillington. The river flows in a series of wide meanders in southerly direction for most of its course towards York. As of 2010 the river is only navigable for some 1.5 miles (2 km) upstream of Castle Mills Lock. The bridges by Peasholme Green and Foss Bank restrict the headroom to an air space of 2.4 metres.

River modifications


The Foss Barrier is built across the river near its mouth at Castle Mills. When closed, it prevents floodwater from the River Ouse flowing up the Foss and flooding parts of York. Water flowing down the Foss can be pumped over the top of the barrier and into the Ouse. Castle Mills Lock is 34 metres long and 6 metres wide. There are mooring points in the lock basin on the River Ouse side with overnight mooring on the River Foss prohibited. Beyond Rowntree Wharf there are few opportunities for turning.

History


In 1069 William the Conqueror dammed the River Foss just south of York Castle, close to its confluence with the Ouse, in order to create a moat around the castle. This caused the river to flood further upstream in what is now the Hungate and Layerthorpe
Layerthorpe
Layerthorpe is a former village and latterly industrial district to the north-east of the centre of the city of York, North Yorkshire, England. It is just outside the city walls of York.- Origin of the name :...

 areas, forming a large lake that was known as the "King's Pool" or the "King's Fish Pond" and which provided fish for the markets. It was approximately 100 acres in size and fishing was only allowed by licence, except for the King's Men.

The King's Pool was an integral part of the city's inner defences during the Middle Ages as the marsh was virtually impassable. This explains why there is no city wall between Layerthorpe Postern and the Red Tower.

In the 17th century, the King's Pool and the Foss were in a state of decline because silt from upriver collected in the Pool, and not enough water came down to move it on, despite the main channel of the River Foss having been deepened in 1608. Eventually the lake was too shallow to remain viable as a defence of the city. In 1644 the lake was shallow enough for Parliamentarian forces under Sir Thomas Fairfax to consider crossing it on foot as a way of breaking the Siege of York
Siege of York
The Siege of York in 1644 was a prolonged contest for York during the English Civil War, between the Scottish Covenanter Army and the Parliamentarian Armies of the Northern Association and Eastern Association on the one hand, and the Royalist Army under the Marquess of Newcastle on the other...

 during the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

.

In 1727 an order was placed upon Arthur Ingram, 6th Viscount of Irvine
Arthur Ingram
Sir Arthur Ingram was an English investor, landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1624 and 1642. Responsible for the construction, purchase and sale of many manor houses and estates in Yorkshire, the Ingram family are most associated with Temple Newsam which became the...

 to scour the River Foss from the Castle Mills to Foss Bridge, making it eight yards wide at the top and four yards at the bottom, and, in 1731 the Little Foss, an extension to enclose the Castle
York Castle
York Castle in the city of York, England, is a fortified complex comprising, over the last nine centuries, a sequence of castles, prisons, law courts and other buildings on the south side of the River Foss. The now-ruinous keep of the medieval Norman castle is sometimes referred to as Clifford's...

, was also drained. In the 18th century, the water was so low that marshy islands were created (hence the area's modern name of Foss Islands). Citizens used the river as a rubbish tip which became a health hazard. Acts of Parliament in 1793 and 1801 were enacted to make the Foss navigable and they effectively saw the end of the King's Pool. The Foss Navigation Company canalised the river from 1778, in order to make it navigable as far as Sheriff Hutton
Sheriff Hutton
Sheriff Hutton is a village and civil parish in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, England. It lies about ten miles north by north-east of York...

.

The York Drainage and Sanitary Improvement Act of 1853 meant that the York Corporation purchased the River Foss from the Foss Navigation Company. In 1859, the York Improvement Act was passed that saw the river above Yearsley Bridge abandoned as a waterway

Stillington Hall is a mansion on the west side of the Foss and adjoining the village of the same name. It was the home of the Croft family, who are descended from a common ancestor with the house of Croft, of Croft Castle
Croft Castle
Croft Castle is a manor house and associated buildings near the village of Yarpole in Herefordshire, England some to the north-west of Leominster .-11th century origin:...

 in Herefordshire
Herefordshire
Herefordshire is a historic and ceremonial county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three counties that comprise the "Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire" NUTS 2 region. It also forms a unitary district known as the...

.

Economy


Remains of Roman jetties, wharves and warehouses have been found by excavations and building works on the banks of the Foss, suggesting that water-borne transport and trade was important from early in the history of the city.

The modern Foss benefits most from leisure activity and several Long Distance Walks cross its path. The Foss Walk follows much of the river course from Blue Bridge to Oulston Reservoir and then on to Easingwold, a distance of 28 miles (45 km). Part of the Howardian Way near Yearsley and both the Ebor Way and Centenary Way as far as West Lilling also follow the Foss for part of their way.

Ecology


Several species of fish can be found in the river, such as Pike
Esox
Esox is a genus of freshwater fish, the only living genus in the family Esocidae — the esocids which were endemic to North America, Europe and Eurasia during the Paleogene through present.The type species is E. lucius, the northern pike...

, Dace
Common dace
The common dace , also known as the dace or the Eurasian dace, is a fresh- or brackish-water fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae. It is an inhabitant of the rivers and streams of Europe north of the Alps as well as in Asia. It is most abundant in France and Germany, and has also spread to...

, Chub
European chub
The European chub , sometimes called the round chub, fat chub, chevin, pollard or simply "the" chub, is a freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae...

, Gudgeon
Gudgeon (fish)
Gudgeon is a common name for a number of small freshwater fishes of the families Cyprinidae, Eleotridae or Ptereleotridae. Most gudgeons are elongate, bottom-dwelling fish, many of which live in rapids and other fast moving water....

, Perch
Perch
Perch is a common name for fish of the genus Perca, freshwater gamefish belonging to the family Percidae. The perch, of which there are three species in different geographical areas, lend their name to a large order of vertebrates: the Perciformes, from the Greek perke meaning spotted, and the...

 and Roach. At the start of the century, Barbel have been introduced into the river.

Tributaries


There are many small streams that feed into the Foss north of Strensall. The main ones are:
  • Eller's Beck, North-west of Crayke.
  • Brandsby Beck, South-west of Crayke
  • Farlington Beck, south of Farlington
  • Whitecarr Beck, near Sherriff Hutton Bridge
  • Howl Beck, near Sherriff Hutton Bridge
  • Black Dike near Strensall

Settlements


North to south, to the confluence
Confluence (geography)
In geography, a confluence is the meeting of two or more bodies of water. It usually refers to the point where two streams flow together, merging into a single stream...

 with the Ouse, these are:
  • Stillington
    Stillington, North Yorkshire
    Stillington is a village and civil parish in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, England. It lies on the York to Helmsley road about ten miles north of York.- External links :***...

  • Strensall
    Strensall
    Strensall is a village and civil parish in the unitary authority of the City of York in North Yorkshire, England, on the River Foss north of York and north-east of Haxby. Prior to 1996 it had been part of the Ryedale district. It covers an area of 2,908 acres....

  • Haxby
    Haxby
    Haxby is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of City of York, on the River Foss, five miles north of York and south of Strensall, in North Yorkshire, England. Haxby is bordered on the east by the River Foss, and to the west by the village of Wigginton, whose expansion has caused the...

  • Earswick
    Earswick
    Earswick is a village and civil parish in the unitary authority of the City of York in North Yorkshire, England. It lies between Huntington and Strensall about north of York....

     Village
  • York
    York
    York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...


Bridges over the Foss



North to south, to the confluence
Confluence (geography)
In geography, a confluence is the meeting of two or more bodies of water. It usually refers to the point where two streams flow together, merging into a single stream...

 with the Ouse, these are:

  • Road Bridge on Milking Hill near Yearsley
    Yearsley
    Yearsley is a small village and civil parish in the district of Hambleton in North Yorkshire, England. It is situated between the market towns of Easingwold and Helmsley....

    .
  • Mill Green Bridge on Brandsby Road near Crayke
    Crayke
    Crayke is a village and civil parish in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, England, about two miles east of Easingwold.The parish was formerly a detached part of County Durham , due to its connection with St Cuthbert and the Bishop of Durham, who had a castle at Crayke.The seventh-century...

    .
  • Road Bridge on B1363 near Marton Abbey.
  • White Bridge, footbridge near Marton Abbey.
  • Road Bridge on Mill Lane near Stillington
    Stillington, North Yorkshire
    Stillington is a village and civil parish in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, England. It lies on the York to Helmsley road about ten miles north of York.- External links :***...

    .
  • Foss Bridge on unnamed Road near Farlington
    Farlington, North Yorkshire
    Farlington is a small, picturesque village and civil parish in Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, England. It is situated approximately 11 miles north of York between Stillington and Sheriff Hutton. A small stream, the Farlington beck, runs through the village.The village has a friendly pub , a...

    .
  • Road Bridge on unnamed Road near West Lilling.
  • Road Bridge on Sherriff Hutton Road near West Lilling.
  • Road Bridge on Ings Lane near West Lilling.
  • Road Bridge on The Village in Strensall
    Strensall
    Strensall is a village and civil parish in the unitary authority of the City of York in North Yorkshire, England, on the River Foss north of York and north-east of Haxby. Prior to 1996 it had been part of the Ryedale district. It covers an area of 2,908 acres....

    .
  • Road Bridge on Haxby Moor Road in Strensall.
  • Railway Bridge on York to Scarborough line near Strensall.
  • Road Bridge on Towthorpe Road near Strensall.
  • Pedestrian bridge at Earswick
    Earswick
    Earswick is a village and civil parish in the unitary authority of the City of York in North Yorkshire, England. It lies between Huntington and Strensall about north of York....

     Village.
  • A1237 York Outer Ring Road.

  • Church Lane Bridge, Huntington
    Huntington, City of York
    Huntington is a village and civil parish in the unitary authority of City of York in North Yorkshire, England, on the River Foss, north of York and south of Strensall...

    .
  • Link Road Bridge between New Earswick and Huntington.
  • Footbridge from Huntington Road.
  • Yearsley Bridge on Huntington Road.
  • Fossway Bridge.
  • Pedestrian and cycle path bridge, formerly part of the Foss Islands Branch Line of the North Eastern Railway
    North Eastern Railway (UK)
    The North Eastern Railway , was an English railway company. It was incorporated in 1854, when four existing companies were combined, and was absorbed into the London and North Eastern Railway at the Grouping in 1923...

    , built around 1880.
  • Monk Bridge built in 1794, widened in the 1930s.
  • Foss Bank Bridge, rebuilt in 1998, now carries South-east bound Inner Ring Road traffic.
  • Layerthorpe Bridge, re-built in 1998, now carries North-west bound Inner Ring Road traffic and traffic between Peasholme Green and Layerthorpe
    Layerthorpe
    Layerthorpe is a former village and latterly industrial district to the north-east of the centre of the city of York, North Yorkshire, England. It is just outside the city walls of York.- Origin of the name :...

    .
  • Pedestrian bridge from Foss Islands Road to what is now the DEFRA site at Peasholme Green, built in 1931.
  • Pedestrian bridge linking the Shambles car-park and Rowntree Wharf, built in 1990.
  • Foss Bridge, built between 1811 and 1812.
  • Piccadilly Bridge, built between 1911 and 1914.
  • Castle Mills Bridge, built in 1956, and forms part of York's Inner Ring Road.
  • The Blue Bridge
    Blue Bridge (York)
    Blue Bridge is the name of a bridge in York, England crossing the Foss just above its confluence with the River Ouse. The original bridge on the site was built in 1738, the current one being constructed in 1895....

    , built in 1895.


Gallery