2023 – April Advances

Dear All

Spring is indeed sprung, the grass is riz, and it is becoming more obvious where the Misbourne iz! Springs at the broad waters below Missenden Abbey are the start of strong flow all the way to well past Chalfont St Giles. After a 1/2 mile gap, there are several places where bits of flow show above the surface towards Chalfont St Peter and we can expect the stream from the tennis courts to reach The Greyhound soon. Recent work parties have made good progress recovering the watercourse in the “gap” sections. Having been untouched since the pandemic, the remainder is hard going but it’s not too late to let me know if you can help tomorrow (Saturday 14th), this Thursday, or next Saturday.. More gentle activity is also available encouraging the trickle in Chalfont St Peter on these dates.

So, advances indeed, and we hope for some sunny days in which to enjoy the Misbourne Valley with a silver thread of the Misbourne running through it. You will be aware of the increasingly high profile being given to “chalk-streams” in the media and even in parliament where our local MP Sarah Green is sponsoring the Chalk Streams (Protection) Bill, now in its 2nd Reading. If you missed Paul Whitehouse’ programmes “Our Troubled Rivers”, they are available on BBCIPlayer here and well worth watching. Anyway, within this favourable climate, local bodies such as the Chiltern Society, the Chiltern Conservation Board, the Colne Valley Partnership and also Affinity Water and Thameswater are working together in various initiatives, e.g. the Chilterns Chalkstream Project. In recent weeks, we have been delighted to have opportunities for informal talks with some of the above and excited by initial ideas emerging on a theme of “mending the Misbourne” and we look forward to jointly developing some thoughts with Affinity Water’s Projects Team shortly. MRA is also also working with CStPeter Parish Council in support of their proposal to develop a Nature Reserve on the east bank of the river between the allotments and the tennis courts.

“Mending the Misbourne” from what? you may be wondering. Well, old timers will always tell you how it used to flow much more than it does now and one reason for that must be that Amersham Treatment Works was decommissioned in the 1950’s and for the first time ever, all the water consumed above Amersham did not return to the river but was piped down the valley to Maple Cross. Abstraction is another obvious topic though great progress in reduction has been made since the 1990’s. Less obvious is the leakage of old clay lined mill leats and also infiltration into the main sewers. There may be more and it will be good to work with others to identify some solutions to the problems that have been observed repeatedly since the Sir William Halcrow & Partners report of the 1970’s.

Meanwhile, we will keep pressing on as we do while looking forward to better things in the future. Planned outings at present are:
Tomorrow, Saturday 15th April, 10.00
Thursday April 20th – tbc
Next Saturday 22nd April, 10.00
Other “ad hoc” – to be advised thru the WhatsApp group
Saturday 29th April, 10.00 – may possibly see “the gap” closed and us able to relax for the Coronation and revert to monthly workparties while flow last.

Please let me know if and when you can help and make sure I have your shoe size for waders. As always, I will email activity details the day before, but why not ask to join the WhatsApp group where they will also be published and you can also see member’s photos and reports.

Preparations are in hand for a stall at Chalfont St Peter Feast Day on 24th June – Volunteers always needed to fill an hour or so chatting to people. We hope to be able to demonstrate the work of the Invertebrate Monitoring Team

Also Chiltern Open Air Museum’s Green Festival on 9th July and Chalfont St Giles Show on 2nd September

Finally, we are not just about the challenging section between the Chalfonts. If you happen to live near, and care about, the Misbourne through Amersham or further upstream, we are with you too and have co-ordinated activities in your area previously, so do get in touch.

Our next “not a meeting” to chat over things, mainly to do with the river but not exclusively! will be on Wednesday 10th May from 7.15pm in The Greyhound. All very welcome, especially new comers.

This is how we would like it between The Chalfonts:

This now but we are working on it!

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