The River Leven is a short river in the county of Cumbria, falling within the historic boundaries of Lancashire. It drains Windermere from its southernmost point and flows for approximately 8 miles into the northern reaches of Morecambe Bay. The river and its estuary are the boundary between the Cartmel Peninsula and Furness Peninsula in the area once known referred to as Lancashire north of the sands. The upriver limit of tidal flow is close to the village of Haverthwaite. Also at this point is to be found Low Wood Bridge which, until the coming of the railways, was the first bridging point across the river. The Leven is navigable upstream as far as Low Wood, and downstream from Windermere to Newby Bridge.
Apart from Newby Bridge and Haverthwaite, the only other settlements on the Leven are the villages of Backbarrow and Greenodd. The river's steep fall around Backbarrow allowed industrial use of the river for the ultramarine mill and also a small hydroelectric generator at Backbarrow ironworks.
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