2023 – March Moisturising

Dear All

At just over 4mm in Chalfont St Peter, February’s rainfall was far below average – in fact the driest February since 1993. As a result, the seasonal recharge of the aquifer stalled as did the springtime emergence of our river. As reported last month, work parties in December and January coaxed the flow from Misbourne Farm (Gorilla) to Pheasant Hill and in February we were delighted to work with councillors and grounds-staff from Chalfont St Giles to take it on and into the woods below the church bridge – see photo below. Even after the exciting weather of the last fortnight it is looking unlikely that flow will find its way this spring into the badly overgrown channel through the sheepfields beyond. Similarly, above Chalfont Park, there has been no extension above the golf course and at Missenden Abbey the broadwaters were marginally reduced, though now recovering slightly.

I was delighted, following the note in last month’s news, to receive a good number of positive, kind offers of money towards our activities. Apologies to those to whom I have not yet replied: I will do so shortly. With those in hand, I think we are fine for now, thank you, but watch this space for future needs!

It was also good to note the enthusiasm at our “not-a-meeting” for MRA to again have a stall at Chalfont St Peter Feast Day on 24th June. We will be grateful for support on the stand during the day and the opportunity to explain and canvass support for our aspirations of reducing the periods of no flow downstream of Amersham and particularly through the Chalfonts. Making progress will require some serious projects.

With no advancing flow, the work party on 11th March concentrated on clearing debris from the river bank in Chalfont St Peter between the precinct and Chiltern Hill – see pictures below, We removed at least 8 bags of rubbish and a number of larger items.

Looking ahead it is uncertain where work parties will be best deployed in the coming weeks. Following discussion at our last not-a-meeting, scouts will be out in the next few days looking for opportunities perhaps a little further afield than usual – maybe to Shardeloes, Amersham Balancing Tanks, Amersham Town and other. Dates in mind are:
Saturday – 25th March – morning
Thursday – 6th April – morning or afternoon
Saturday – 15th April
Saturday – 22nd April
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.

As ever, If those times and places don’t suit you, anyone can set up another exercise using our WhatsApp group to find a little team, maybe to clear rubbish from another “hot-spot” (Let me know if you would like to join the WhatsApp group).

All this and much more will be chatted over with a relaxed drink at our next “not-a-meeting” at The Greyhound on Wednesday 5th April from 7.15pm – all welcome, new supporters and old hands. There’s quite a bit going on behind the scenes as we move toward the consultation period for the boundary review of the AONB and seek to build upon growing public awareness from, for instance, the recent BBC TV Paul Whitehouse series “Our Troubled Rivers”. (The river bed in Amersham town behind the memorial garden shows a very clear example of the “dead bed” Paul describes).

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