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Showing posts from January, 2018

Tolworth Treasure and the Hogsmill Hum

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A wet start: - our band of twelve walkers- gathering at the confluence of the Bonesgate with the Hogsmill - discussed the amount of sediment flowing down the minor river from Chessington and the effect on its fauna. From a fish perspective this can transport beneficial food resources as the routine presence of the kingfisher testifies, perching just above the deep pool carved at the join.

However, in times of spate the system can be  overloaded with suffocating sediment. Lucy read  'A Ramble by the River Side' by John Clare, a highly accessible poem with resonances of the Hogsmill, due to the coincidence in species such as teal; followed by a passage from Richard Jefferies on finding bluebells in the district with a reluctance to divulge the location; based on his wish that we find beauty for ourselves.

We discussed how sensitive species can be lost during urban densification and how increasing amounts of  sewage pollution undermines the health of the stream. Volunteers mo…

Draining of the Filter Beds at Seething Wells

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Many noticed the draining of the water in the filter beds, even though it took place the week before Christmas. I have no hotline to the offshore company who own the site and can only hazard a guess as to why this is happening now.The water level had risen to the top of the filter beds posing a management issue and leaving it any later could fall foul of the bird breeding season. If proposed Environment Agency charges for abstraction and disharge go ahead from April 2018 it could be very expensive to discharge the water  see https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/new-charging-proposals-fromapril2018/

There used to be a charge for a discharge permit until deregulation followed Agency staff cuts. Abstraction for small amounts of water became free but this has not helped the environment and our local rivers such as the Crane, Hogsmill and Beverley suffer constantly from low flows. So the Agency have to reconsider but the admin causes a financial headache and any new charges must refl…

Wassail, Olives, Tolworth Treasure and the Apple Store

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The annual wassail was held at Pensford Fields in North Sheen this afternoon. Pensford is a haven for wild flowers, birds and insects rescued from developers in the 1990's. It is a site of importance for nature conservation  and a designated area of tranquility. It also inspires art, children’s play and education. 
During proceedings the wassail master read his short poem against the cracking fire and a ukele band played sing- along - songs and we did circle dancing.

We clapped as Bella was crowned the new wassail queen and a noisy procession began. 
Fancy dress is encouraged and also any sort of instrument or implement which makes a good noise will help us scare the evil spirits away from the fruit trees in the orchard. This is a key part of the old english Wassail custom which dates back to pre-Norman times.









Cider was presented to a dressed apple tree in the  orchard. 
Toast was left in the tree to appease the spirits and give thanks for the fruit. 







There were plenty of cooked …