2011 – April (nearly)

Quite a few imminent matters to mention so this note comes earlier than usual.  Perhaps I’ll then leave you in peace for a leisurely Easter and Royal Wedding season?

First, can I draw your attention to a meeting regarding the proposed HS2 at the Chalfont St Peter C of E School, Church Lane this Saturday, 2nd April, at 10.00 a.m.  There will be displays, including of the river, and presentations from HSAA and The Chiltern Society.  I am assured these will cover the potential threat to the very existence of the River Misbourne through the valley as outlined in this paper by the Chiltern Society’s  geologist Haydon Bailey.  In summary, Haydon suggests the proposed railway construction risks:

  • long term damage to the Chalk aquifer system 
  • pollution of the main water supply system for the north western Home Counties area and potentially further into north London 
  • serious ground collapse in areas with deep sections of weathered chalk
  • total loss of surface flow in the Misbourne River system and the destruction of the adjacent habitats
  • the aesthetic loss of the Misbourne River and its replacement by a dry valley

The environmental studies for the lining project are getting underway.  Land surveys commence next week beside the Recycling Centre and along the leat north of Mill Lane and the invertebrate monitoring squad set off for their training with the RiverFly Partnership  in a few days time.  The land surveyor will be generally self sufficient but I would like to create a rota of volunteer visitors who would be willing to pop by during the day, ensure all is well, maybe help clear particular obstructions, share a flask of coffee?  Please let me know if you might have a spare hour or two next week.

We are also preparing under the Chiltern Society banner for a meeting with the Heritage Lottery Fund with regard to  funding the project on Friday 8th

Meanwhile, flow through the valley continues to be exceptionally good – continuous all the way through to Chalfont Park and beyond to the confluence with the Colne.  This is again a significant  year on year improvement, even though the Chalfont St Peter springs and the backstream are still not running this year, due to the low annual rainfall and hence low groundwater levels.  

Turnout for the March work party was well down on what we have become used to but some good work was completed.  Between the ford at Mill Lane and Chalfont St Giles, we now have a clear river which we hope will keep going through the summer without reverting to an overgrown swamp.  Elsewhere, some useful clearing and tidying was achieved and good progress was made with establishing view points at Chalfont St Peter.

It would be   to have a good turnout in April.  We will aim to clear young weeds before they get too big and to ensure everywhere is as good as we can make it before our long break and what is probably the most attractive time of year by the river.  I hope you remember we changed the date to Saturday April 9th.  Just an hour or two makes a big difference and most people leave, dirty, wet and happy at lunchtime.  Please let me know if you expect to be able to join us and I will circulate some suggested jobs and allocations late next week.

Finally, everyone is welcome to a drink and a chat about River Matters and other things – “not a meeting” – in the Village Hall restaurant area, next Tuesday evening, 5th April, from 7.45 p.m.


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