Catchment area 2,776 ha, length 10.5km. Not designated artificial or heavily modified.


Waterbody description

The river rises at Braydon Forest near Purton and runs through Purton Stoke, joining the Thames on the southern bank near Cricklade. The river was crossed by the North Wilts Canal a few hundred yards south of Cricklade on the B4553 to Purton. In December 2000, as part of regeneration of the canal, rescue work was started on the River Key Aqueduct.

In 2014 this waterbody was failing under Water Framework Directive for water quality due to high levels of phosphates and ammonia and for ecology due to invertebrates, phytobenthos and macrophytes. In 2016 the invertebrates and ammonia had recovered to good, however it is still failing with phosphates remain poor.

The confirmed and suspected reasons for this are largely due to sewage discharge a point source of pollution with some additional contribution from agricultural sources (diffuse pollution) (1)

  1. WILD Project, Rivers Management Plan, Cricklade Parish (October 2015)


Land use and designations


Flora and Fauna


Water Framework Directive 

WFD 2016 (Cycle 2) moderate overall status, failing due to phosphates remaining Poor (dissolved oxygen and macrophytes and phytobenthos moderate)


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