River Kyle
A small wooden footbridge, over a narrow river, connecting two fields
Footbridge over River Kyle at Alne
54°4′41.41″N 1°14′28.56″W / 54.0781694°N 1.2412667°W / 54.0781694; -1.2412667
Physical characteristics
 • locationConfluence of Derrings Beck and Carle Beck nr Tholthorpe
 • coordinates54°5′24″N 1°15′38″W / 54.09000°N 1.26056°W / 54.09000; -1.26056
 • elevation12 metres (39 ft)
 • location
River Ouse nr Newton-on-Ouse
 • coordinates
54°2′5″N 1°13′28″W / 54.03472°N 1.22444°W / 54.03472; -1.22444
 • elevation
11 metres (36 ft)
Length9.3 kilometres (5.8 mi)

The River Kyle is a small river in North Yorkshire, England. At just under 6 miles (9.7 km) long, it is one of the shortest classified main rivers in the country.


The river is first called Kyle after the confluence of Carle Beck and Derrings Beck. From the confluence it flows south-east of the village of Tholthorpe, near Easingwold, past Flawith, Alne and Tollerton. At Linton-on-Ouse it turns south and joins the River Ouse just north of Newton-on-Ouse.[1] From source to mouth, the river extends to just 5.8 miles (9 km) in length.[2]

The Kyle is noted for its recurrent problems with pollution caused by agricultural effluent.[3] In 1978, the water from the river became polluted after a barn fire had been extinguished and the water used to douse the fire had found its way into the River Kyle. Some of the pollution was a paraquat based weedkiller which is lethal in high concentrations and for which there is no antidote. As the City of York took its water supply from the River Ouse, they had to close their river intakes for two weeks to allow the polluted water to be flushed downriver.[4]


The river previously formed the boundary of the Forest of Galtres.[5] During the Second World War, RAF Bomber Command operated an airfield near the start of the River Kyle at RAF Tholthorpe. Both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force flew from this base until its closure in 1945.[6] The river also passes close to the current airfield at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, which was originally opened in 1937 as part of RAF Bomber Command.


The name of the river derives from the Brittonic *cǖl, meaning "narrow" (Welsh, Cornish and Breton cul).[7][8] The place-name Alne possibly preserves an earlier alternative name for the river.[8]


There are two Ordnance Survey Leisure Walking routes that cross the river near Tollerton.[9][10]





  1. ^ "Upper Ouse Catchment - Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust". yorkshiredalesriverstrust.com. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  2. ^ Chrystal, Paul (2017). The Place Names of Yorkshire; Cities, Towns, Villages, Rivers and Dales, some Pubs too, in Praise of Yorkshire Ales (1 ed.). Catrine: Stenlake. p. 101. ISBN 9781840337532.
  3. ^ "Rivers Swale, Ure and Ouse fact file" (PDF). environmentdata.org. Environment Agency. p. 3. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  4. ^ Price, Michael (1996). Introducing groundwater (2 ed.). Cheltenham: Stanley Thornes. p. 8. ISBN 0-7487-4371-5.
  5. ^ "Fleet Bank Lane Tollerton, North Yorkshire" (PDF). hambleton.gov.uk. September 2010. p. 8. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  6. ^ RAF Bomber Command, story of Tholthorpe airfield
  7. ^ Ekwall, Eilert (1960). The concise Oxford dictionary of English place-names (4 ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 283. OCLC 400936.
  8. ^ a b James, Alan. "A Guide to the Place-Name Evidence" (PDF). SPNS - The Brittonic Language in the Old North. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Walks". Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Walks". Retrieved 26 August 2011.