2023 – February Features

Dear All

So that will teach me: a month ago commenting that a whole good month’s rain in half a month was good for the recharge, and then hardly a drop since!

Nevertheless, groundwater levels continued to rise strongly as the moisture percolated down and all locations were well above average when dipped on 1st Feb. Following the two work parties last year, which cleared the whole length of the leat from Misbourne Farm to Mill Lane, our first two this year have completed the section from Mill Lane to CStG village and there is now flow under Pheasant Hill bridge – see photo below 7th Feb. Meanwhile, the lower winterbourne has advanced up the valley from Chalfont Park lake as far as the Sports Club, but now stalled. We would hope to see springs emerging around Chalfont St Peter in the next month.

Readers may have seen various references to pollution from the Gerrards Cross (Tatling End) sewage treatment works. While not acceptable of itself, I have been reasonably reassured by subsequent correspondence with ThamesWater who advise that the other overflow discharge facility at the balancing tanks (beside A413 Recycling Centre) has not been activated in recent months, with the tanks peaking at 60% on 14th January. Monitoring of that site will be added to their rather good interactive map by the end of the year.

At our last “not-a-meeting”, I got the sense that members didn’t want to go down the route of formal membership and a membership fee but that nonetheless it is recognised that our work does have some (generally small) costs. For instance, we want to buy a few more rakes, a couple more pairs of waders, and a cordless electric saw (circa £150). We have probably just enough in the kitty for these from various past donations, (including from Waitrose and Bucks CC) but if anyone would like to make a one-off contribution that would be much appreciated. Contact me for details. Every little helps!

We also thought that more advance notice of work parties and their goals would be helpful. Of course, as stated on the website, our overall goal is to “maintain the River Misbourne so that it flows as regularly as possible from its source at Great Missenden to its confluence with the River Colne at Denham”. Within that banner, there is a range of activities that includes lobbying, meetings, educational outreach and more but crucial are the work parties. While always dependent upon spring conditions, present proposals for these are as follows:
Saturday 18th February – work from Chalfont St Giles, Pheasant Hill bridge to church bridge
Thursday 23rd February – from Chalfont St Giles church bridge into woods stage 1
Saturday 11th March – ditto stage 2.
Thursday 16th March – from woods into field downstream of Chalfont St Giles Stage 1.
Saturday – 25th March – If springs flowing, Group 1 working from Chalfont St Peter tennis courts towards village; if flow, Group 2 working into field d/s CSt G.
Dates TBA – hoping to join flows between Chalfonts. Once complete, special exercises near Shardeloes, Amersham Balancing Tanks and other.
Please let me know if you can help with any of the above, even if just for an hour or so and whether morning (10.00 – 13.00) or afternoon (14.00 – 16.30) or both – probably only one each day will run to suit most popular. As usual, I will send “orders of the day” just before the session to all who have let me know their availability.

If those times and places don’t suit you, how about setting up another exercise using our WhatsApp group to find a little team. (Let me know if you would like to join the group).

All this and much more, including recent contact with The Chiltern Society, will be chatted over with a relaxed drink at our next “not-a-meeting” at The Greyhound on Wednesday 8th March from 7.15pm – all welcome, new supporters and old hands.

People often ask about the erratic flow in the Misbourne, particularly through the Chalfonts. Some of the answers are available on the website.

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