The Crane Valley Partnership

DNR & Longford Rivers

Duke of Northumberland's River (DNR)

The Duke of Northumberland’s River consists of two sections of artificial waterway, constructed during the reign of King Henry VIII to increase the flow of the Crane in order to supply more power to existing watermills on the river, and to provide an area for new mills to be built.  The river provided a source of revenue to the Duke of Northumberland’s estate.  The DNR flows from the River Colne to the River Crane in Hounslow. The second section flows from the River Crane to the River Thames.

The western section of the river is 9.3km in length and diverts water from the River Colne near Harmondsworth Moore, West Drayton, to the Crane at Donkey Wood, Hounslow. The DNR provides a much needed volume of water to the main river and helps maintain flows.  The DNR skirts the western and southern perimeter of Heathrow Airport, running alongside its twin river, the Longford River, which also flows from the Colne. The rivers were diverted along their current course in 2002 as part of the Twin Rivers Diversion Scheme associated with the construction of Terminal 5. The scheme saw parts of the rivers that were once culverted under the airport’s runways, reopened to wildlife.  However, these sections of river are still lined with concrete panels and pass through heavily industrialised areas.
The two rivers separate in Bedfont, southeast of Terminal 4.  This section of the DNR meets the Crane at Donkey Wood, Hounslow and flows as the Crane until it splits off in its eastern reach at Mereway Rd, Kneller Gardens, Twickenham.

The eastern section of the river takes a noticeable amount of flow from the Crane and is thought to be the reason why flows and river levels are so low on the main river beyond this point.  The DNR flows through Twickenham, past the rugby stadium and on to Isleworth.  The river flows past Mogden Sewage Treatment Works before supplying the ponds of Syon Park with their water.  Syon House is the London residence of the Duke of Northumberland himself.  Just before the river eventually meets the Thames on the northern side of Isleworth Ait, the man-made structure of Kidd's Mill Sluice presents a major barrier to fish migration.

The Longford River

The Longford River is an artificial water body that provides the catchment with 12km of river channel.  It was built by King Charles I in 1639 to supply water to Bushy Park  and Hampton Court Palace.  The river also flows from the Colne, and flows from Longford, near Colnbrook, to the River Thames on the south side of Hampton Court Palace.

After flowing south from its source, the river’s first major point of call is Heathrow Airport. The river’s course has been diverted on a number of occasions due to airport expansion, most recently due to the Twin Rivers Diversion Scheme, as mentioned previously.

After leaving the southern perimeter of the airport, the Longford flows south east through Bedfont, Feltham and Hanworth, passing through Blenheim Park, Feltham Arenas, and Hanworth Park.  The river is forced through a series of culverts around the Hanworth Park area, impeding connectivity and causing a barrier to the migratory movements of mammals and fish.  The river passes under the Hounslow and Uxbridge Roads before flowing through an aqueduct running over the Shepperton railway branch.  After this point the river flows through Hampton Hill before entering Bushy Park through its western perimeter.

In the Royal Park itself, the river is diverted in a number of directions to feed several ponds.  Various strands of the river are also culverted away from Bushy Park to feed water features, ponds and waterways in Hampton Court Palace Gardens and Home Park.  The river is forced underground again before entering the Thames at two points on the south side of Hampton Court Palace, adjacent to the River Mole and at Raven’s Ait in Surbiton.

DNR & Longford

WFD Status


2009 Ecological Potential

2012 Ecological Potential

DNR East Good Moderate
DNR West Good
Longford River Moderate