Newsletter - October 2019

Annual Public Meeting

was held on Wednesday 13th November 2019
Annual Reports and Trust business details
followed by a talk by Dave Elliott National Trust Head Ranger for Black Down on
BLACK DOWN AND BEAVERS


From the Riverbed - editorial roundup

TRUSTEES AND SECRETARY
We have some added personnel around the Trust’s table—Russel Oppenheimer has become Hampshire County Council’s nominated Trustee (in succession to Adam Carew), and Anthony Williams succeeds Angela Glass as East Hampshire district council’s nominee.
Angela stays on as a Trustee ‘in her own right’ as does Barbara Easton. Angela of course remains Chairman of the Trustees.

Those who attended last year’s Annual Public Meeting will recall our surprise and delight when John Carne volunteered to take on the long-unfilled role of Honorary Secretary, and he is now well and truly up and running us all.

LAND AT RADFORD BRIDGE
RADFORD AQUEDUCT CIRCA 1980, JUST AFTER REPAIRS TO SAVE IT FROM COLLAPSE (MANAGED BY THE BRAMSHOTT & LIPHOOK PRESERVATION SOCIETY, AND LEADING TO THE FORMATION OF THE RWT) HAD STARTED, SHOWING THE LARGE HOLE IN THE UNDERSIDE OF THE ARCH GreenConstruct’s planning application for the land by Liphook’s Radford Bridge was refused in June, but we understand that a further application is to be made shortly. It looks as if the ‘clincher’ was Historic England’s objection, based on the impact of the scheme on the setting of Radford Aqueduct, a Scheduled Monument: it seems as if there might be a backstop plan that might work — presumably by reducing house numbers and providing a green corridor embracing the line of the carrier channel (still identifiable) where runs inland from the Aqueduct. We shall see. None of the objections to the proposal seemed to take much account of (or even mention) the 6 acres or so that would be handed over to the RWT. LINE OF THE CARRIER IS IDENTIFIABLE, ON LEFT, BY A SMALL HUMP AND MORE VEGETATION THAN ELSEWHERE; AQUEDUCT (NOT VISIBLE) IS IN BACKGROUND. HEDGEROW BOUNDING LONDON ROAD LAYBY ON RIGHT In the meantime, we are therefore still marking time over plans for expenditure there and for ramping up our volunteering resources—or wondering whether we should be directing those resources elsewhere. MAY LOOK SMALL AND CUDDLY (LIKE A WATER VOLE) BUT ADULTS –INCLUDING A FOOT-LONG TAIL—GROW TO OVER FOUR FEET (1.3M) LONG AND WEIGH OVER HALF-A-HUNDREDWEIGHT (25KG)

BEAVERS.
You will have read on the front page that our speaker at this year’s APM, the National Trust’s Dave Elliott, will be including the subject of Beaver introduction on a headwater of the Southern Wey.
Beavers — last seen in Great Britain, in Scotland, in the sixteenth century — ”reappeared” around 2008 on, confusingly, the River Otter in Devon, where they are now managed by the local Wildlife Trust. Their great virtue is in contributing to ‘natural’ flood management, and—in the right place— they offer one of a number of approaches to this growing need. It seems a timely topic for the Trust’s APM.


Duck Fanciers at our successful summer party in Conford

Volunteering and Training

The Trust relies heavily on volunteers to keep things running, whether it’s workparties or more specialised tasks.
Here is some of what we’re up to or are planning

Winching Out!
ALLEES MEADOW

Regular annual clear-up—late winter (i.e. early 2020)
Constructing crossings over watermeadow drains to enable tractor-mounted equipment to be used (where appropriate): a bit of digging and some concreting, then brickwork to carry mini-bridging deck. Despite some dry summers, the drains seem to be lying wetter than the once did, leading to embarrassing situations with tractors.
As noted earlier, it’s a case of wait-and-see for the Radford Bridge land next door, however we still carry out balsam-bashing there and in Allees Meadow every summer.

PASSFIELD FISH PASSAGE

Requires routine topping up of the stone (‘rocks’) that form the stepped pools of the passage through the sluice. We also carry out some maintenance to the permissive path there.

JAPANESE KNOTWEED MONITORING

We are working with CABI in a long-running trial to establish the effectiveness of Psyllids in controlling this non-native invasive plant, whether they spread to and infest adjacent native vegetation, and how well they tolerate our unpredictable climate. Our involvement has been in setting and collecting insect traps (see picture) and monitoring the presence and spread of the Psyllids once they have released on the site.

 
 
 
WATER QUALITY TESTING

Over the last couple of years we have carried out spring and autumn testing of dissolved phosphates and nitrates, at a limited number of sites, using basic ‘visual’ testing methods (pictured right) as part of the FreshwaterWatch campaign.
As a result, we have decided to up our game by buying some more professional kit (pictured left)with a view to monitoring more regularly and more widely.
We also hope to arrange ‘kick-sampling’ training (in collaboration with Riversearch Wardening scheme run by the Surrey Wildlife Trust) which establishes how invertebrates are doing in the watercourses—another indicator of water quality.


The River Tweed

ANOTHER INSTALMENT OF OUR OCCASIONAL ROMP ALONG OTHER PEOPLES’ RIVERS

Abhainn Thuaidh

in the gaelic

You pays your money and you takes your choice for the meaning of this one! David Dorward’s thoughtful and entertaining Scottish Place-names reckons that the meaning of ‘Tweed’ (like some other major Scottish rivers—the Rivers Stirling and Spey) is an enigma. The Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names for once doesn’t resort to its usual cop-out of ‘possibly named after a local chieftain’, but plumps for Celtic or pre-Celtic possibly meaning “powerful one”. The name might also mean ‘border', which it forms nowadays for part of its length (from Kelso to Paxton—about 3 miles west of Berwick), although in the middle ages the border was a movable feast—by the 1334 treaty, Scotland even lost Edinburgh.

There is possibly just one other River Tweed in Britain — a short tributary of the River Sence (heard of that one?) in Leicestershire.

The name of the cloth Tweed may or may not be derived from the River—an alternative is a corruption of “tweel” or twill in our parlance.

The River Tweed rises at Tweed’s Well , which is off to the west close to the A74(M) Carlisle to Glasgow route, a little north of Moffat. From source to the sea it is 97miles—it discharges between Berwick and Tweedmouth (the border nowadays is 3 miles to the north, near Lamberton). The river has strong populations of salmon, sea trout, non-migratory brown trout and grayling—and is fished accordingly.

Our friend Himalayan Balsam has colonised extensively the banks of the river and some of its tributaries: the conservation body for the Tweed, the Tweed Forum, runs a control programme, currently clearing from tributaries such as the Gala Water (as in Gala-shiels) rather than the main river which in places is overrun by the plant; they are working with our friends CABI trialling rust control (see our article in the Autumn 2018 newsletter: the Tweed balsam may be genetically a little different to our southern England strain, because they were imported from different parts of the Himalayas, meaning that the effective strain of the rust may need also to be different).

OUR PARTY

The RWT’s annual summer party went very well with great thanks to the Mogers, who seemed to organise the weather as well!. This time we returned to Pimms, Duck Race and strawberries and cream , with the ever present Grandpa's Spells Jazz Band coming up to scratch (as usual)


The River Wey Trust: F