River Swift

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River Swift
Lutterworth-River Swift - geograph.org.uk - 1177523.jpg
River Swift near Lutterworth with the bridge that once carried the Great Central Railway
Country England
Counties Leicestershire, Warwickshire
Towns Lutterworth, Rugby
 - location Upper Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire
Mouth Confluence with River Avon
 - location Rugby, Warwickshire
 - coordinates 52°23′13″N 1°15′32″W / 52.3869°N 1.2588°W / 52.3869; -1.2588Coordinates: 52°23′13″N 1°15′32″W / 52.3869°N 1.2588°W / 52.3869; -1.2588
Length 23 km (14 mi) [1]
Basin 80 km2 (31 sq mi) [1]
River Swift is located in Warwickshire
River Swift
Location of the mouth within Warwickshire
Wikimedia Commons: River Swift

The River Swift is a 14-mile (23 km) long tributary of the River Avon that rises in south Leicestershire, and flows through the town of Lutterworth before joining the Avon at its confluence in Warwickshire in the English Midlands.[2]


The source of the river is a stream that rises at an altitude of around 142 m near to Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome in Leicestershire, on the watershed division between the Avon and Soar catchments. The Swift passes the village of Walton and then Kimcote, where it meets a number of small streams that drain the headwaters of the catchment. The river continues in a south-westerly direction, passing to the north of Walcote then through the Misterton marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest, before reaching the M1 motorway bridge and the town of Lutterworth.[3][4]

The river passes to the south of the town, where it is crossed by the Rugby road, near to the site of the ‘lost’ St Johns the Baptist hospital.[5] After passing beneath the Lutterworth bypass, the Swift continues south-west until it reaches the Bransford Bridge crossing of the A5. This road follows the course of Watling Street, the Roman road that linked London to Wroxeter.

Downstream of the bridge the river passes the site of the deserted medieval village of Cestersover, and then the modern village of Churchover. At this point a canal feeder takes water from the river to supply the nearby canal. After passing beneath the M6 motorway, the river then flows directly south through the Swift Valley nature reserve, passes Brownsover Hall and then through the Swift industrial park. It is crossed by the Oxford canal in an aqueduct, and then passes through a retail park to join the River Avon, between Brownsover and Rugby.[3][6]


The Swift joins the Avon in Rugby

The Swift catchment lies between that of the Avon and Welland to the east, the River Sowe to the west, and the River Soar and its tributaries to the north, it covers an area of 80 square kilometres (31 sq mi).[1]

In terms of geology of the catchment is underlain primarily by Lias Clay and mudstones, with an overlying layer of glacially deposited till, sands and gravels. This impermeable clay means that the Swift can become responsive in terms of runoff to heavy rainfall events.[7]


The Swift has a minor history of flooding along its course, especially in Lutterworth, flood events being recorded in 1875, 1931 and most recently in 2008. A flood warning and alert service exists for the catchment, in conjunction with that for the Upper Avon and the Clay Coton brook.[7][8]

In February 2012, a mother and her three children had to be rescued from their car when it was swept downstream from the ford between Churchover and Harborough Magna, after it had broken down in the floodwaters whilst crossing the river.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Water Framework Directive Surface Water Classification Status and Objectives 2012 csv files (GB109054043940)". Environment-agency.gov.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "River Swift". warwickshireflyfishers.co.uk 2. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Get-a-map online". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Environment Agency What's in your Backyard". Environment Agency. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Hospital of St. John the Baptist - Excavations at Mill Farm Lutterworth". 2001 Annual Report. le.ac.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Ordnance Survey (2009). 140- Leicester, Coventry & Rugby. OS Landranger Map Series. Ordnance Survey. ISBN 9780319481721. 
  7. ^ a b "Harborough District Council Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment" (PDF). 2009 Final Report. leicestershireparishcouncils.org. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Flood Warning Area Detail". Environment Agency. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "news-Terror-of-family-trapped-in-rising-flood-water". therugbyobserver. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 

External links[edit]

Media related to River Swift at Wikimedia Commons