River Cary (Somerset)

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River Cary
River Cary.jpg
RegionSomerset Levels
CitySomerton, Somerset
Physical characteristics
SourcePark Pond
 • locationCastle Cary, Somerset, England
 • coordinates51°05′12″N 2°30′49″W / 51.08667°N 2.51361°W / 51.08667; -2.51361
MouthRiver Parrett
 • location
Dunball, Somerset, England
 • coordinates
51°09′40″N 2°59′18″W / 51.16111°N 2.98833°W / 51.16111; -2.98833Coordinates: 51°09′40″N 2°59′18″W / 51.16111°N 2.98833°W / 51.16111; -2.98833

The River Cary is a river in Somerset, England. It is sourced from the Park Pond in Castle Cary and flows towards the southwest.


The origin of the name Cary is uncertain. It may be derived from pre-Celtic kar-, meaning "stony, hard",[1] or the Celtic element car meaning dear, pleasant (c.f. Welsh cari, "love").[2]


The River Cary has its source at Park Pond in Castle Cary, and then flows southwest through Cary Moor to Babcary, where there is a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest at Babcary Meadows and Cary Fitzpaine. It then flows northwest through Charlton Mackrell to the north of Somerton, passing under the Somerton Viaduct. Here the river channel has been straightened and drains the surrounding wetland as it heads north to Kings Sedge Moor. The Cary passes through King's Sedgemoor continuing west across the moors south of the Polden Hills. At Henley it joins the artificial channels of the Sutton Moor Rhyne and the King's Sedgemoor Drain, both of which drain the wetland. Much of the water is now diverted into King's Sedgemoor Drain, which continues across the moors to join the estuary of the River Parrett at Dunball.[3]


In 1995 a major pollution incident occurred when lindane and mercury seed dressing were poured down a drain which leads into the river near Somerton.[4]

Study site[edit]

The river was the site of a study to examine the use of strategically placed floodplain woodland to alleviate downstream flooding.[5]


  1. ^ Victor Watts, 'Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names', Cambridge University Press, 2004
  2. ^ "Carey Name Meaning & Carey Family History at Ancestry.com". Ancestry.co.uk. Retrieved 5 September 2015. from Hanks P. 'Dictionary of American Family Names' (O.U.P.) 2003
  3. ^ "Somerset Topography: Rivers". Somerset County Council. Archived from the original on 2004-01-05. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
  4. ^ "Dumped lindane costs dear". Pesticides News. 30: 5. 1995. Archived from the original on 2007-10-24. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
  5. ^ Thomas, H; Nisbet, T. R. (2007). "An assessment of the impact of floodplain woodland on flood flows". Water and Environment Journal. 21 (2): 114–126. doi:10.1111/j.1747-6593.2006.00056.x.