2011 – October

Many thanks for contacting me about the proposed work party this Saturday.  Hopefully, there will be a few more by the weekend and I have copied this to a few extras from the regular squad in case you were about to!

Well! – what to say?  The Veolia trial of injecting 2 Mld at Amersham ended on Monday 26 September with the end of the flow at approx Cherry Acre – 300 m upstream of Water Hall.  8 days later the river is dry from near The Ivy House – well upstream of Chalfont St Giles and, most devastatingly, “worse” than at any time since we started in 2008.  Quite obviously, the trial was just hiding this year’s underlying very strong seasonal effect.  Other Chiltern chalk streams are suffering similarly.  So, do we give up and accept that our frustrating river will do its own thing and we are wasting our time?

The general view from those who I’ve spoken to this week is “Not at all!”  Our practical action is undoubtedly beneficial in extending and enhancing flows when we have them.  Our commitment in the field adds huge weight to our voice behind the scenes with The Chiltern Society, The Environment Agency, Chiltern Conservation Board, our MP and many others who can help our long term aims for sustainable improvement.  More than that, we quite enjoy ourselves and have met some nice people!

So the suggestion is that this Saturday, we take the opportunity to begin to ensure that the watercourse is in good condition to welcome the eventual return of flow.  Our focus will be The Mill Leat, north of Chalfont St Giles between Misbourne Farm and Mill Lane.  It is quite overgrown with giant willowherb (?) which pulls up fairly easily and we should be able to establish a central clear zone quite quickly so that returning autumn flows (if any!) can make good progress.

As usual, we will provide forks, rakes, saws, loppers, HI-vis vests, gloves, rubbish bags.  You are unlikely to get wet (depends on weather) but I would still recommend wellingtons, long tough trousers, long sleeves.  If you have a sickle, brushook, heavy duty strimmer, pair of seccateurs, they will be useful but I think it will be largely pulling.  Pleaee bring you own drinking water and elevenses.

 We will start from 09.30…..or when you get there….. and probably finish around 1.00 p.m.  Park in the little road beside Misbourne Farm, i.e. the access road to the “Gorilla” compound,  off the A413 between Mill Lane and Bottom House Farm Lane.  Careful to park out of the way of the big trucks.  If you arrive after we start, cross the narrow wooden bridge and follow the path beside the river into the field and you should spot some yellow Hi-vis, or call my mobile.

 Jill and Jo, I am happy to welcome children under your control and responsibility and they might enjoy exploring for a while and/or piling up stuff.  Under 7’s probably unlikely to be able to do much and there are a few risks such as bits of barbed wire, branbles and rabbit holes.  

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