DERWENT (Celtic Dwr-gent, clear water), the name of several English rivers. (1) The Yorkshire Derwent collects the greater part of the drainage of the North Yorkshire moors, rising in their eastern part. A southern head-stream, however, rises in the Yorkshire Wolds near Filey, little more than a mile from the North Sea, from which it is separated by a morainic deposit, and thus flows in an inland direction. The early course of the Derwent lies through a flat open valley between the North Yorkshire moors and the Yorkshire Wolds, the upper part of which is known as the Carrs, when the river follows an artificial drainage cut. It receives numerous tributaries from the moors, then breaches the low hills below Malton in a narrow picturesque valley, and debouches upon the central plain of Yorkshire. Its direction, hitherto westerly and south-westerly from the Carrs, now becomes southerly, and it flows roughly parallel to the Ouse, which it joins near Barmby-on-the-Marsh, in the level district between Selby and the head of the Humber estuary, after a course, excluding minor sinuosities, of about 70 m. As a tributary of the Ouse it is included in the Humber basin. It is tidal up to Sutton-upon-Derwent, 15 m. from the junction with the Ouse, and is locked up to Malton, but the navigation is little used. A canal leads east from the tidal water to the small market town of Pocklington.
(2) The Derbyshire Derwent rises in Bleaklow Hill north of the Peak and traverses a narrow dale, which, with those of such tributary streams as the Noe, watering Hope Valley, and the Wye, is famous for its beauty (see Derbyshire). The Derwent flows south past Chatsworth, Matlock and Belper and then, passing Derby, debouches upon a low plain, and turns south-eastward, with an extremely sinuous course, to join the Trent near Sawley. Its length is about 60 m. It falls in all some 1700 ft. (from Matlock 200 ft.), and no part is navigable, save certain reaches at Matlock and elsewhere for pleasure boats.
(3) The Cumberland Derwent rises below Great End in the Lake District, draining Sprinkling and Sty Head tarns, and flows through Borrowdale, receiving a considerable tributary from Lang Strath. It then drains the lakes of Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite, after which its course, hitherto N. and N.N.W., turns W. and W. by S. past Cockermouth to the Irish Sea at Workington. The length is about 34 m., and the fall about 2000 ft. (from Derwentwater 244 ft.); the waters are usually beautifully clear, and the river is not navigable. At a former period this stream must have formed one large lake covering the whole area which includes Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite; between which a flat alluvial plain is formed of the deposits of the river Greta, which now joins the Derwent from the east immediately below Derwentwater, and the Newlands Beck, which enters Bassenthwaite. In time of high flood this plain is said to have been submerged, and the two lakes thus reunited.
(4) A river Derwent rises in the Pennines near the borders of Northumberland and Durham, and, forming a large part of the boundary between these counties, takes a north-easterly course of 30 m. to the Tyne, which it joins 3 m. above Newcastle.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)