2010 – August – Exceedingly Good Rakes

Armed with our trusty rakes, the work party last month achieved a huge amount;  reclaiming a clear channel all the way from Chalfont St Giles centre to the fields, and from the end of the fields near Chalfont St Peter through the jungle and round the corner at the tennis courts, plus some light maintenance through the fields, not forgetting the impressive clearance by the Council Offices  and the back pond.  It is always amazing how much our groups can achieve in a few hours and very rewarding.   I was particularly chuffed when returning, tired, muddy and sopping wet, to the Stone Bridge, I found a lovely family party thoroughly enjoying splashing and paddling in the clear stream and to have one little lad run up to me shouting “Mister, I found a fish!”

Last year, we were surprised and very pleased to have established and maintained a stream through Chalfont St Giles for the full year.  This year we have been amazed and delighted to have established and maintained flow past Water Hall for several months and, building on these efforts, the weekday team and some individual forays have now brought the river back to life as far as the Allotment Bridge in Chalfont St Peter.  As far as I can see from John Norris’ records, it is most unusual for there to be water in this area in August.  For the flow to be extending/increasing rather than fading away at this time of year appears to be unprecedented.   Many of the rakes and other tools that we use are borrowed from  Goldhill Baptist Church to whom, again, sincere thanks.  And thanks also to Chalfont St Peter Scouts for use of their trailer and Chalfont St Peter Parish Council for sundry funds.

While I’m not sure that MRA can really claim any credit for our weekday gang’s fantastic Community Service in clearing and landscaping the site of the old substation compound by the Garden Centre Hut in Chalfont St Peter,  the end result is a huge improvement and, once again, the said rakes were in action.

In the July Epistle, I mentioned consultancy work being done by Adrian Marsh and Helen Ash regarding the proposals to line selected, damaged reaches at the London Road Dump and the Mill Leat.  This is nearing completion and we hope to issue it to various authorities and interested parties within the next month.  Although it appears to make frustratingly slow progress, this aspect of our work is probably critical to helping  the river to remain in good health throughout any future drought .

Our August “not a meeting” will be on Thursday 26th at The Three Pigeons, from 7.45 p.m, (not Tuesday 24th as previously advised due to clash with 2 other River Meetings!).  Our work party will be on Sunday 29th, as scheduled, starting at 09.30.   I’m sure the (ambitious) target at Chalfont St Peter will be to get flow back as far as The Greyhound.   At St Giles, I think we will probably be working upstream of the village centre.   As always, I’d be grateful if you would let me know if you expect to be able to join us and, as always, even just an hour will be much appreciated.

As noted last month, anyone wishing to learn about river habitat enhancement from the Wild Trout Trust is invited to obtain further details from  Roger Lerry – rogertlerry@talktalk.net   – regarding the event on Wednesday 25th August at Kingsmead in High Wycombe.

MRA will have a stand at the Chalfont St Giles Show on 4th September and I’m looking for help on the day. If you can be with us for, say half-an-hour or so, please let me know and we can work out some sort of rota


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