River Greta, Cumbria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

River Greta
River Greta in Fitz Park Keswick.JPG
River Greta in Fitz Park, Keswick
River Greta, Cumbria is located in Cumbria
River Greta, Cumbria
Location of the mouth within Cumbria
CountryUnited Kingdom
Physical characteristics
 • locationThrelkeld
MouthRiver Derwent, Cumbria
 • location
 • coordinates
54°36′7″N 3°9′10″W / 54.60194°N 3.15278°W / 54.60194; -3.15278Coordinates: 54°36′7″N 3°9′10″W / 54.60194°N 3.15278°W / 54.60194; -3.15278

The River Greta is a river in Cumbria, England. It is a tributary of the River Derwent and flows through the town of Keswick. "Greta" derives from the Old Norse "Griótá", meaning "stony stream".[1] The name is in records dating from the early 13th century, and also appears in Latinised form, as "Gretagila", at the time of Magna Carta.[1]

River Greta in Fitz Park, looking towards the town

The source of the river is near Threlkeld, at the confluence of the River Glenderamackin and St. John's Beck. From there, the river runs westward, roughly aligned with the former Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway between Keswick and Penrith. The river subsequently flows through Keswick before joining the Derwent just after the latter flows out of Derwentwater.[2] The medieval bridge over the river in Keswick was unusual in having two arches; on the great coach road from Kendal to Cockermouth all but two of the other bridges (Troutbeck and Portinscale) crossed their rivers in a single span. The current Greta Bridge in Keswick is another two-arch structure, built in 1926.[3]

The major tributaries of the Greta are Naddle Beck and Glenderaterra Beck.[2]

Literary associations[edit]

  • Wordsworth’s sonnet ‘To the River Greta, near Keswick’, was written in 1823.[4]
  • Coleridge, referring to the sound of the boulders in the (19th C) stream, claimed that its name “literally rendered in modern English is ‘The Loud Lamenter’ - to Griet in the Cumbrian Dialect signifying to roar aloud for grief or pain –: and it does ‘’roar’’ with a vengeance!”.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ekwall, p. 205
  2. ^ a b Jenkinson, pp. 131, 183 and 189
  3. ^ Thompson, pp. 347–348
  4. ^ a b G Lindop, A Literary Guide to the Lake District (London 1993) p. 176


  • Ekwall, Eilert (1960). Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198691033.
  • Jenkinson, Henry Irwin (1879). Practical Guide to the English Lake District. London: E Stanford. OCLC 19717012.
  • Thompson, Bruce L (1969). "Portinscale Bridge". Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, New Series, Volume 69. Kendal: CWAAS.