2010 – November: Good News

There is quite a bit to report this month and its all very encouraging!

We are delighted that, after many months (or is it years?) of discussion,  the Environment Agency has decided to support The Chiltern Society’s proposals for lining the river bed as a trial in the area of the Council Tip (Recycling Centre) near The Ivy House Pub.  This means that the Planning Application can move forward and, most importantly, we hope that the Lottery Application will now be looked upon favourably.  Many of you will know that the plan is to use a natural clay like material sandwiched between layers of sacking, buried below the bed – no concrete, no plastics.  All being well, the aim will be to carry out the actual installation in about a year from now when flow is at its annual minimum but there will be much preparation beforehand.

I now have 6 names on the list of people interested in becoming involved in invertebrate surveys – (Mike, Caroline, Dorothie, Carole, Christa, Jane) – which is a goodly number.  If I have missed you or you would like to be added, please let me know this week as I would now like to move forward and arrange the introduction to the experts in the EA and appropriate training.  There is a need for this work in any case but particularly to inform “before and after” comparisons for the lining.

The weather was very kind again for our work party on Saturday, when we had 27 volunteers working in various locations between Chipstead Farm and Lower Road, Chalfont St Peter.  Now we have most areas relatively tamed, it is very rewarding how quickly progress can be made.   Key tasks included some substantial clearance at the leat,  removal of choking weed at CStG, some “gardening” around The Greyhound, rediscovering the backstream at CStP and coaxing the leading edge across the fields.  It was good to find on Sunday that our efforts had brought the small stream all the way back to the tennis courts.  Flow this far south at this ebb time of the year is remarkable, if not unheard of, in recent years and you can be proud that John Norris reported to the Chiltern Society Rivers and Wetlands Group AGM that he was at a loss to explain it without blaming the MRA!

These ramblings now have a voluntary circulation of more than 200 and are also copied to several interested organisations and officials.  As always, if you would really rather not have them inflicted upon you, do please let me know.  I sometimes have periods of depression imagining that they go straight into peoples junk-mail so the occasional bit of feedback is always very welcome.  I would still be very grateful for one or more volunteers to act as “telephone tree” to help us keep in touch with supporters who don’t use e-mail.

If you would like a drink and a natter – not necessarily about the river! – do join us for a “not a meeting” at The Three Pigeons on Tuesday 23rd November from 7.45 p.m.

Our next (and last in 2010) work party will be Sunday 28th November.  I expect we will be concentrating on the leat (between Misbourne Farm and Mill Lane) and the last 250 metres upstream of the Pheasant Hill Bridge as well as general TLC around CStP.  Do please let me know if you think you might be able to join us – just an hour or two is much appreciated.  I am arranging more tools etc. as I was nearly overwhelmed by the welcome late contacts this week.

Finally, our end of season Christmas meal will be going ahead but please note this will now be on Wednesday 15th December.  Last year we had a very enjoyable time and this year’s 3-course price is £2 less per person with the possibility of further reduction if our numbers increase.  Thanks to those who have committed already so that we could confirm the event – I look forward to hearing from lots more of you in the next few days.   Details, including menu, are on the website: call now to avoid disappointment!


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