Author Archives: Theo

Pollution alert: Storm flows from Caterham Bourne through Beddington sewage treatment works

Following our recent report that record rainfall this winter has resulted in the reappearance of the Caterham Bourne, we’ve just received this information from the Environment Agency:

Because of the high ground water from the Caterham Bourne, ground water is being pumped into the foul sewer to relieve flooding issues in the Kenley and Purley area.  This is also to protect Sutton and East Surrey’s potable water treatment works at Kenley.

Because of this there has been an increase in water flowing into Beddington Sewage Treatment Works and the Works are running under storm conditions. This means that the water coming from the works is a mixture of final treated sewage and storm water.
This has been going on for a few days now and could last for a while. However, several partner organisations including the EA, Thames Water, local Councils, the Police and Fire Brigade are working to manage the situation as immediately and effectively as possible.

Needless to say, we are taking this situation very seriously, and will post updates here as we receive them.

Update 1 (2.30pm, Monday 24th Feb): the EA have informed us that “free ammonia” NH3 levels are currently very low in the lower river, and no environmental damage has been detected so far.  However, sludge which has been scoured from Beddington’s storm tanks may be getting into the river, and may look like shredded toilet paper or similar.

Update 2 (12pm, Tuesday 25th Feb): There is sewage debris, sludge and fungus being seen all along the river downstream of the effluent channel to at least Penwith Road.  Water is not being pumped to the foul sewer now but the amount of water entering the sewage treatment works is still high and is therefore still operating  under storm conditions.   Dissolved oxygen levels are low but not thought to be a cause for concern yet.

If you’re out on the river and notice offensive smells, unusual quantities of sanitary products, or fish or other wildlife in distress below Beddington STW, please phone them in to the usual EA hotline: 0800 80 70 60. Thank you!

Flood alert for the Caterham Bourne (as historic Wandle springs reappear in Carshalton!)

Our partners at the Environment Agency have contacted us again to ask for help in spreading the word that the Wandle’s rarely-seen headwaters at Caterham may be about to start flowing again.

Because so much water is usually pumped out of the Wandle’s chalk aquifer for drinking water and other purposes, the river’s historic springs and headwaters are often dry (and the upper river is sometimes only kept flowing by a unique system that takes water out of the river at Goat Bridge and recirculates it back upstream to Carshalton Ponds!)

However, following several weeks of rain, many local residents in the Carshalton area have recently noticed spring water flowing from the Grotto and Hogpit in Carshalton Park, as well as the springs in St Philomena’s lake.

And even the Caterham Bourne, which as a true winterbourne only flows out of the chalk downs above Croydon during exceptionally wet years, may be on the point of reappearing.

From the Environment Agency’s flood alert service:

Groundwater levels have risen rapidly in the upper Wandle catchment in response to recent sustained and intense rainfall. As a consequence groundwater levels, as measured at the Environment Agency’s monitoring boreholes, indicate the potential for sustained flow within the Caterham Bourne. The rapid rate of groundwater level recovery within the Chalk aquifer allows us to conclude with a high level of confidence that initially low lying roads and properties will be susceptible to flooding.

The Caterham Bourne joins the Wandle at Croydon, so we may also see slightly elevated water levels on the Croydon arm of the Wandle through Beddington Park to Hackbridge.

If you live in Caterham, Whyteleafe, Kenley, Purley, South Croydon or along the upper Wandle, please take care and feel free to keep us updated by adding messages or pictures below this post.

Launching our new South East Rivers Trust website


As part of expanding our charitable area of benefit to cover several other rivers across south east England, as the South East Rivers Trust, we’ve just launched a new website to represent this area of our activity. will feature details of all our future work on the Hogsmill, Beverley Brook and other rivers.

If you live anywhere in the south eastern area, and would like to get involved in our partnership work on the Beverley Brook, Darent, Dour, Hogsmill, Medway, Mole, Eastern Rother or Stour, please let us know!

The Wandle makes headlines in The Angler

The Angler - front cover-001

There’s a great article about the Wandle river restoration story in the latest issue of The Angler, the Angling Trust’s new-look magazine, which has been dropping through members’ letter boxes over the weekend.

The Angling Trust was instrumental in helping the Wandle Trust to negotiate the 5-year Living Wandle project funding for the river’s restoration, after the notorious pollution incident in 2007, and its Fish Legal team are constantly negotiating and fighting court cases on behalf of other rivers and their local residents.

If you’re already a member of the Angling Trust, keep an eye out for the article. And if you’re not a member, but you enjoy fishing the Wandle and other rivers, we highly recommend joining the Trust and supporting one of the great forces for good in the conservation world!

The Angler - Wandle 1-001

The Angler - Wandle 2-001

The Wandle wins the Lottery!

HLF logo

We’re delighted to be able to tell all our friends and supporters the great news that the Wandle Valley has just been awarded the Heritage Lottery Fund’s first ever urban landscape partnership grant.

The Living Wandle grant is worth £1.9 million over the next 4 years, and will help us start delivering many exciting projects recently identified via the Wandle’s new Catchment Plan, including river restoration in Ravensbury Park, a new River Guardians scheme, invasive species management and river-based education programmes.

The full bid has involved lots of hard work from many people across Wandsworth, Croydon, Sutton and Merton Councils, as well as the National Trust, Groundwork London, London Wildlife Trust, the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust, the Wandle Valley Festival, the Wandle Piscators and ourselves at the Wandle Trust.

Click here to download the HLF’s full press release – and watch this space for more news as this historic grant starts bringing the Wandle’s rich heritage to life for everyone to enjoy!

Announcing the new South East Rivers Trust

Together with the Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency, the Wandle Trust is delighted to announce the formation of the new South East Rivers Trust to help engage communities with conservation and restoration of their local rivers across Kent and south east England.

The rivers trust movement has grown rapidly in recent years, with a vibrant network of individually motivated community-led initiatives operating throughout over 80% of UK river catchments. One of the few areas without widespread rivers trust coverage is south east England. The Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency have been exploring options to enable the formation of a trust that can complement and work alongside other existing local organisations delivering river conservation work including the Kent Countryside Management Partnerships, which is co-ordinated by Kent County Council.

After much consideration, it was agreed that a nearby Trust extending its current area of operation would be the most efficient means of capitalising on existing expertise and avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort.

Rivers trusts apply the ecosystem approach at a catchment scale, and have a strong ethos of community engagement and partnership working with other bodies including farmers, landowners, water companies, other environmental NGO’s and angling groups. In collaboration with the Environment Agency and many local partners, the Wandle Trust has a proven track record of delivering complex river restoration projects across south west London, with a unique blend of scientific expertise and volunteer engagement.

Accordingly, the Wandle Trust has now agreed to extend its area of benefit to cover the Kent and the south eastern area where rivers trusts do not currently operate.

Over time, we’re likely to evolve fully into the South East Rivers Trust, whilst continuing to operate as the Wandle Trust within the Wandle river catchment, and developing river restoration projects as the South East Rivers Trust with all interested partners on the wider stage.

And in the meantime, it’s business as usual on the Wandle, where our recent Catchment Plan consultation has told us how south London’s communities want to see the Wandle improved, and we’re now starting to deliver these improvements with partnership funding from Defra and the Environment Agency. Watch this space for much more news!

To download our full press release about this exciting news, please click here.

£1m+ funding for work on the Wandle and other south London rivers!

Upper Wandle - winter landscape

We’re delighted to announce that the Wandle Trust has secured more than £1 million in funding to continue our programme of vital river restoration work on the Wandle over the next 3 years.

Following our recent fish and eel passage enhancements in Carshalton and Ravensbury Park, this funding will allow us to start delivering many more exciting improvements which local people have told us they’d like to see, in the course of our recent consultation to create a community-led Vision and Catchment Plan for the Wandle’s future.

It will also allow us to widen the area where we’re working, including our sister chalkstream the Hogsmill and beyond – helping us to build on the last 5 years’ highly successful Living Wandle project, funded by Thames Water, which has already resulted in native trout starting to spawn again in the upper Wandle.

The latest funding comes from Defra’s Catchment Restoration Fund, which has awarded £367,000 for fish passage and habitat improvements on the Wandle, and an additional £200,000 for work on the Hogsmill River.

Further funding and support has been provided by the Environment Agency, and aims to help the upper river reach a good ecological state by 2015 in line with the requirements of the European Water Framework Directive. This funding is also provided to help the Trust spread our expertise in urban river improvements gained on the Wandle, to other rivers in south London where no such groups have been established and the rivers are more neglected as a result.

In order to help us deliver this work, the Wandle Trust has recently appointed Toby Hull as our new Catchment Project Officer.

As usual, we also hope to involve as many local volunteers as possible – for instance, helping us install gravel and woody habitat structures, planting newly-created river margins with native plants, and helping us to monitor the river for any pollution incidents.

So keep an eye on this website, throughout 2013 and beyond, for opportunities to get involved on the Wandle and help us restore this wonderful urban chalkstream!

To download our full press release about this exciting news, please click here.

Wandle Trust charity Christmas cards 2012: buy yours here!

December is here again – and so is the time to start thinking about how many Wandle Trust charity Christmas cards you’d like to send to your friends and family!

This year we’re selling bumper mixed packs of all the cards we’ve produced so far:

  • 12 cards in 3 designs (Grove Park, Hackbridge and Wandle Alphabet) for £8 (reduced from £10 per pack last year),

… or …

  • 10 cards in 5 designs (Grove Park, Hackbridge, Wandle Alphabet, Butter Hill and Earlsfield Bridge) for £8 (reduced from £10 per pack last year)

As usual, all profits will go directly to help the vital work of the Wandle Trust.

To buy your cards this year, simply drop by our Christmas community river cleanup at Poulter Park on Sunday 9 December, where Sally and Jo will be selling them from the Wandle Trust gazebo.

Or email us directly to check prices for postage and packaging, and we’ll get everything sorted by post and Paypal.

Happy Christmas shopping – and thank you for your support!

FF&FT features Trout in the Classroom

We’re thrilled to let all our friends and supporters know that a 5-page feature on our annual Trout in the Classroom project, and the Wild Trout Trust’s Mayfly in the Classroom initiative, has just appeared in October’s issue of Fly Fishing & Fly Tying magazine.

The article has been written by the Wandle Piscators’ President Peter Lapsley, and features an in-depth interview with Gideon Reeve, Wandle Trust Trustee and Director of our Trout in the Classroom programme.

Copies of the magazine are available from all good newsagents including WH Smith or directly from the Fly Fishing & Fly Tying office… get yours today!

We’re still taking applications for a Project Co-ordinator to run this year’s programme. If this sounds like you, please contact us as soon as possible…

New Wild Trout Trust film showcases river restoration on the upper Wandle…

Back in September last year, our friends at the Wild Trout Trust brought a camera crew from Fish On Productions to start recording parts of our upper Wandle project on immortal film.  

Now, the film has been launched on the Wild Trout Trust’s website, where you can also find Charles Rangeley-Wilson’s Rivers on the Edge wise water use video, mayfly life-cycle footage and much more… 

Big thanks to Paul and all at the Wild Trout Trust – and we hope to announce another phase of habitat and water quality work on the upper river very shortly!