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 Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements

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PostSubject: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:13 pm

Thought this maybe of interest as shows how local groups have got together to improve a river.
Certainly low cost and very effective.

Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements
Last week Environment Agency staff joined forces with members from the Revive the Wye group, the Wild Trout Trust, Wycombe District Council, Chepping Wycombe Parish Council and the Chiltern Chalk Streams Project to undertake a number of habitat enhancements on the Wycombe Marsh Brook at Kingsmead in High Wycombe.

The Wycombe Marsh Brook is a tributary of the River Wye and like the main Wye is a chalk stream, capable of supporting a wide diverse range of aquatic Plants and animals. In the past both the Wye and The Wycombe Marsh Brook supported excellent populations of wild brown trout, however industrialisation of High Wycombe, particularly in the post-war years has lead to habitat degradation and water quality issue’s that have all had detrimental impacts on the local fish populations. Water quality over the last twenty years has continued to improve but a lack of suitable habitat in places still proves to be a problem.

The recent project looked to address this issue by improving habitat on a 200m section of river that was uniform in width and depth and provided little in the way of instream features. A number of techniques were employed such as using bundles of willow branches or ‘faggots’ to help narrow the river down to help remove silt and expose gravels, essential for trout spawning. Logs and other large woody debris were also secured in place and used to provide areas of cover, create different flow patterns and depth profiles and to generally provide a number of different habitats beneficial for fish and aquatic insects and plants.



A section of the river prior to the works


Tom Sherwood, Fisheries Officer for the Environment Agency said, “the sort of small scale habitat enhancements we have undertaken here on the Wycombe Marsh Brook are
very easy to install yet
incredibly effective of providing the much needed instream habitat that the local fish, plant and invertebrate populations require.”

Allen Beechey from the Chiltern Chalk Streams Project added, “What was previously a section of river that was uniform and had little in the way of ecological value has now been improved through a number of low cost techniques which will have benefits for the local aquatic fauna and flora.”

Jeff Herschel, Chairman of Chepping Wycombe Parish Council said, “The work builds on a previous project undertaken last year where residents have pointed out that not only has it improved the habitat for wildlife but also made a significant improvement to the visual amenity of Loudwater”.


Willow faggots were used to help narrow the river down


Logs were installed to act as flow deflectors


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Andy Venn

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PostSubject: Re: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:40 pm

this little river is a hidden gem,further upstream its a roach fisher mans dream regular reports of 1lb plus fish being caught.

im glad its being looked after as the local kids use it quite a bit.
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Dave Durrant



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PostSubject: Re: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:11 pm

Great news.

I know this area well.
I used to take my young daughter here with a small net, great fun examining the water life.
I even taught her to ride a bike in the the surrounding park.
Then we'd head up to the Dyke. Netted 24 crayfish in an hour once...she was chuffed. Smile

She'll be 21 in a fortnight. cheers



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PostSubject: Re: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:33 pm

Good to hear Dave, Andy, dont know it myself so pleased it has happened in right place.


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PostSubject: Re: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:03 am

A lot of the Crane is dead straight like that, I wonder if we can get some of this style of
habitat enhancement done there as part of the recovery project.
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PostSubject: Re: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:40 am

Coincidentally, I seem to recall there was a polution/fish kill incident on this river some years ago (or possibly it was the Wye itself ?).

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PostSubject: Re: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:06 pm

cant remeber if there was a polution/fish kill incident on this little stream but can rember working in texas/homebase which is down stream from the part they have heleped and watched loads of fish inc barbel and brown trout being restocked so possibly it had been ruined?
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Paul Snell



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PostSubject: Re: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:28 pm

On line research indicates there was a cyanide spillage (on the Wye) & consequent fish kill back in '96 with bream up to 6lbs & roach over 2lbs amongst the casualties. There was also an oil spillage in September (or was it July?) this year that injured a number of wildfowl, but no reports of dead fish. Running right through (under in places) the town and adjoining industrial estates - the rivers are obviously vulnerable to inept and nefarious practices.

Looks a lovely bit of river, but apparently the only (known) place with free fishing was behind the Homebase, but that's now been fenced off. If anyone knows differently do let me know (PM if you'd rather not publicise on an open forum) as it's only a half hour from me & I'd love a go on a bit of genuine chalk stream.


Last edited by Paul Snell on Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:34 pm

So then you would like a bit of info hmm well lets see.....
yep the free bit is the bit that runs behind homebase and yep it has been fenced off but you could if your sneeky Suspect jump over and have a go at a lovely stretch of the river and if memory serves me right if you wander down stream there is a pond where the river enters it then leaves it ie a cattle drink let me have a look on google maps and i will let you know.

You cant be to far away from me Paul i live in beaconsfield...
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Paul Snell



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PostSubject: Re: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:41 pm

Thanks for the info - I'll go & take a look next time I'm out that way. Is the tackle shop I saw reference to (Marsh's) still there?

I'm near Egham so the M25/M40 junction's less than 15 minutes on a good day, but for some reason have only ever looked east or south for my fishing (holidays in Devon & Yorkshire excepted).
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Dave Durrant



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PostSubject: Re: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:06 pm

It's not very big. Some areas are only a few inches deep in places narrow enough to jump over.

I had a look behind Homebase, just about accesible with a duck and a dive.

You may have a better chance downstream, past Wooburn Green where the river runs alongside the road, near the old Grange (Fawlty Towers) nightclub. Evidence of angling, but probably kids.

Old stories of big trout and roach (but only stories) so you may be chasing shadows. Crying or Very sad I've only seen very small chublets and the odd tiny trout.

It would be nice to know if anyone has any success. Probably best to have a reccie on a bright summers day.
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PostSubject: Re: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:22 pm

Paul Snell wrote:
Thanks for the info - I'll go & take a look next time I'm out that way. Is the tackle shop I saw reference to (Marsh's) still there?

I'm near Egham so the M25/M40 junction's less than 15 minutes on a good day, but for some reason have only ever looked east or south for my fishing (holidays in Devon & Yorkshire excepted).

The tackle shop is there but it has changed hands and i dont know what it's like now.

As Dave has said i wouldn't make a special trip over just for this river best to team it up with a trip to the thames etc.
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Dave Durrant



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PostSubject: Re: Wycombe Marsh Brook benefits from habitat enhancements   Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:39 pm


"The tackle shop is there but it has changed hands and i dont know what it's like now."

'Bucks Tackle' now.
Quite a lot of gear from all the top manufacturers, but a strange unfriendly atmosphere in there. alien
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