River Ellen

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The mouth of the River Ellen at Maryport harbour

The River Ellen is a river in Cumberland, running from Skiddaw in the Northern Fells of the Lake District to Maryport harbour on the Solway Firth. It is approximately 25 miles in length. Its dale is known as Allerdale.


The river rises on the Skiddaw massif,[1] and runs in a generally western direction, passing Uldale, Ireby, Boltongate, Baggrow and Blennerhasset parish boundary and Aspatria. From there, it continues southwest (instead of more northwesterly) past Oughterside, Gilcrux, Bullgill, Crosby and Dearham, and skirts the grounds of Netherhall School before flowing into the Solway Firth at Maryport.

Bridge over the River Ellen dividing Baggrow and Blennerasset

Fish, pearls, and pollution

The Ellen contains populations of brown trout, eels, lamprey, minnows, salmon, sea trout, and stickleback.[2][3] In 2008, pollution entered the river via a tributary and contaminated a two-mile stretch, killing many fish.[4] This river has produced pink freshwater pearls since before Roman times.


  • Dash Beck
  • Gill Gooden