The River Dee is a valuable asset to all of us living and working here. It provides a vital water supply to half of Aberdeenshire and all of Aberdeen City. The Dee is a specially protected SAC river, featuring Atlantic Salmon, Otter and Freshwater Pearl Mussel populations. Anglers from around the world visit the Dee to try and catch an Atlantic Salmon or Brown Trout, helping to support the local economy. The Source of the Dee is found high in the Cairngorms mountains within the Cairngorms National Park, and it flows 88 miles through Deeside, into Aberdeen Harbour. It is often termed 'Royal Deeside' due to the royal family making Balmoral Castle their summer home. You can learn more below.
The catchment of the River Dee and its 17 major tributaries covers over 2000 km2 of north-east Scotland. These watercourses flow from the Cairngorm mountains through a rich and varied landscape of moorland, woodlands, and farmland to enter the sea at the busy port of Aberdeen harbour. They provide habitats for a wide range of wildlife, including rare and threatened species, link the towns and villages of Deeside and underpin the rural economy of the area. The Dee Catchment Partnership has been working for over 14 years to protect, enhance and restore the waters of the Dee catchment through the implementation of its catchment management plan. In this website you can read about our work, download publications and links to information about the river, and find out how you can look after the River Dee.
Welcome to DeeWatch
Welcome to DeeWatch Welcome to DeeWatch, a month-by-month guide to nature-spotting across our diverse and beautiful catchment. Nature is thriving on Deeside. With a little planning, time and luck, your nature-spotting efforts can ...
Overview of Protected Areas in Dee catchment
Facts and figures
Dee catchment facts and figures
Population The majority of the catchment population lies within the City of Aberdeen (approximately 220,000 people). Outwith the city, settlements in the catchment are small, and are concentrated around the river and in the lowlands. Bet...
Land use The catchment is relatively unusual in the UK in that it has predominantly upland, semi-natural land use. The catchment consists of two geographically distinct regions which have contrasting land-uses. West Area of the...
Waters and Quality
Waters River Dee The River Dee rises at an altitude of 1220m on the extensive semi-arctic Braeriach-Cairn Toul plateau in the Cairngorms National Park. It originates from a series of springs (the Wells of Dee) at the foot of a b...
Information about water-related habitats and species in Dee catchment
Geology and soils
Geology and soils The basement rocks consist of ancient Pre-Cambrian metamorphosed sediments of the Moine series (dominated by quartz-mica schists) and, to the west, the Dalradian series bringing mixed acid-basic soils with some limeston...
Habitat Types Sections 20 - 25 in the Dee Catchment Management Plan set out the different habitat types found in the Dee Catchment in detail. We are very lucky to have a rich landscape of: Lowland Wetlands: The valleys of the Dee c...
History Floods Heavy rains and melting snows can turn the river’s serene flow into a raging torrent. Major floods occurred in 1769, 1920 and the Cairngorm Flood of 1956. Reportedly, the flood of 1920 drove the river into its old...
Climate The Cairngorm mountains form the largest area of continuous high ground in Britain. They act as a major originator of weather events and their effects are transmitted downstream to the middle and lower catchment in terms of flood...
Flooding and Monitoring
Links to sites that provide information about live conditions in the River Dee.
Dee or Tweed?
Dee or Tweed? How well do you know your big Salmon Rivers? Can you answer the six questions below? We ran this activity at the Royal Highland Show this year and got some interesting guesses! How many stickers would you...