Land uses

Land use varies with each course of a river.

Farming

Upper course

  • Mainly hill sheep farming because of poor soils, steep slopes, cold weather, high rainfall and exposed hillsides.

Middle course

  • A mixture of dairy and arable farming as slopes are gentler, soil is more fertile and the weather is better. Flatter land also makes it easier for cattle to graze and machines to work the fields.

Lower course

  • Deep fertile alluvial soils on the floodplain of the river allow crops to be grown.
  • Weather is much better which allows crops to ripen before harvest.
  • Much flatter land allows machinery to be used.
  • Dairy farms are close to settlements to sell their produce.

Forestry

Upper course

  • Thin soils, steep slopes and poor weather conditions may make forestry more economical than farming.

Industry

Lower course

  • On the flat land of the floodplain close to the sea, heavy industry such as iron and steel works are located because of the large amount of flat land required, eg River Tees.
  • Raw materials can be transported to factories by river, eg oil to Grangemouth oil refinery on the River Forth.

Recreation and tourism

Upper course

Middle course

  • Gentler slopes and good access via roads and railways to both lower and upper course features means lots of tourists stay here in B&Bs (often provided by farmers) and caravan and campsites.
  • Fishing is a good source of income for landowners.

Water storage and supply

Upper course

  • Reservoirs - dams have been placed across fast flowing rivers where V-shaped valleys are narrow (easy to dam) and high rainfall means lots of water can be collected for towns lower down the valley. Where rocks are impermeable water storage is easy as the water does not drain away.

Renewable energy

Upper course

  • Hydroelectric power (HEP) can be generated in the upper course of a river because of high rainfall and steep slopes which provide fast flowing water to turn turbines and generate electricity.