You'll have seen the note from our Chairman about the new fish Refuge near the bottom of Beat 3a, and if you've been down in the last two weeks, you'll have seen all the earth moving machines. That culminated today in an extra bit being added to the river, in fact it may have originally been part of the river until it was 'straightened' back in the 1930s (I believe).
This extra bit is a backwater designed to provide a refuge for small fish when the river is in spate (not uncommon in the Winter) as the main surge will rush past it.
Sounds pretty simple, but it was a major undertaking and took a lot of effort from the South East Rivers Trust, to whom we are very grateful. They basically dug a very big hole, not unlike a bomb crater, and by coincidence, much of the spoil was transported to fill an old WW2 bomb crater elsewhere at Harpers.
The Grand Opening took place this morning, when the last bit of soil between the hole and the river was removed. This naturally caused a bit of mud and silt in the river, but it was settling down again within the day. Worth having a look next time you're at Harpers. It's just a short distance above the sewage outfall, and probably best viewed from the far bank, but here's a view from the side where all the work was done and another from the far bank showing the scale of the work in progress.
SERT are already installing marginal plants round the pool, and no doubt it will all look entirely natural in a few months. Let's hope the little fish appreciate it.