Lost chalk stream - the Bulbourne in Berkhamstead

jerryrum

Well-known member
Joined
May 13, 2016
Messages
361
Location
Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard
I have recently been re-reading Charles Rangeley-Wilson's Silt Road. a tale about (amongst other things) how the Berkshire Wye was lost to urbanisation.

I happened to find myself in Berkhamstead where the Bulbourne has suffered a similar fate.

I walked the section from opposite Berkhamstead boys school (over the canal from the train station) down to the Rising Sun pub, where it joins the Grand Union Canal:
mapbh.PNG


The stream emerges in the grounds of a private business, but runs alongside a kids play park:
BH1a.PNG

a classic chalk stream in miniature

Within a few meters, however, it plunges back in to a man made abyss:
BH2a.PNG

it then can only be glimpsed by peering over walls or through security gates for a good few streets, while it passes under roads or between houses and businesses:
BH3.PNG


even where it is accessible, on common land, it is fenced off and forgotten:
BH4a.PNG


and all too soon, it is lost altogether, in to the canal (entering through the rushes on the left):
BH5.PNG


With only 200 odd chalk streams in the world, it seems crazy to me that everyone of these rare habitats is not treated like the rare jewel that it is.

Seeing this river ignored has really put me in a funk. I think I better lay off the C R-W for a while and read something a bit more up lifting!
 

jerryrum

Well-known member
Joined
May 13, 2016
Messages
361
Location
Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard
It actually looks in reasonable good nick. Any fish in it?

Andy
A few stickleback, but nothing bigger. One thing I didn't mention, and you can't really tell from the photo's, is that in many places it's only a few inches deep.

I did stand for a while, peering through some bushes, in to a weir pool that had enough water to cover a few trout, but couldn't see anything moving.

I had my two young sons with me, so I kept getting moaned at to move on to the next play park etc.

I did speak to a chap that swore there were trout downstream, at the Three Horseshoes pub, but I didn't get anywhere near there. The river there (downstream of the sewerage works) looks like it has more flow, on google maps, so it's possible.

I would have been interested to get in a see what invertebrates were about, but with the difficult access, and looking after the kids, I had no chance.
 
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