Thursday, April 29, 2010


We suspected a few rats were running the chicken shed. You know what they say; 'You keep chickens...' Melissa heard a squeak from behind a waste bag this morning and a scaley tail was seen disappearing into a crack in the wall. Webley was sent for...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sponsored by Stihl

Before and after removal of trees. Looking to the south east.

With a stack of interesting, twisted, knarly timber on our hands further new banks were created. We used most of the wood for the fishing bank and added 100 feet of living willow faggots on the far side. Newly planted flag provides sanctuary for newly hatched fry, the product of the newly imported gravel and some Christmas spawning brownies.

'First understand nature, then copy it'

'Water in its natural state shows us how it wishes to flow, so we must follow its wishes'- Viktor Schauberger Backed up by the weir in the distance, running straight as an arrow and shaded from any light following the solar zenith, this river was in a sorry state. No ranunculus grew here, no trout swam. Think of a plan, then think of a better one. We finally decided upon a ruthless fell of those hefty shade trees and use that timber to create new banks. Backfill would be the dried out dredgings from a 1991 desilt of an upstream dam and the previous river long tufa removal.

As spring arrived and our newly planted flag rysomes stared to poke their lush green spikes through the backfill, we have a new river. This is no longer a place the keeper, or his rods hurry past. Those rods make special calls to report captures of trout from this place, it amazes me how quickly they respond. Dropping down from spawning and seeking suitable summer quarters; they must like it here. An atmosphere of expectation has returned, lost when those Victorians commanded this river into a walled channel; told it to behave, to get through as quickly as possible. Dippers love it here now, they can bob into the shallow water and collect caddis from the river bed, they squable for the best perches on the corners of those thick ash trees, now put to good use as 'undercut banks'. Encouraged by the new flow, ranunculus shoots promise summer trellises and tiny black flies feeding from the nectar of white buttercup flowers. All this before the end of the first spring olive hatch.

Meandering stimulates water to eddy, rush, twist, slow and sparkle.

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Derby Uni LL.B.yr4 Birmingham Uni (field lecturer)