Archive for May, 2010


Following from interest at  past Avon Estuary Forum meetings, Gordon Waterhouse has offered to lead an expedition into the mud at Aveton Gifford to find the Dwarf Spike-Rush, a highly unusual perennial plant in this part of the world.

 The landowner has kindly granted permission to get stuck in on Thursday 1st July.  Anybody interested in finding the plant should gather in Timbers car park at 1130, suitably attired. 

You can find more details of the plant on the ECOLOGY/INTERESTING SIGHTINGS page.


If you have read the article about trout farming downstream of Loddiswell (see ECOLOGY/FISHING/ TROUT FARMING AT LODDISWELL – AN ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM) you will be familiar with our arguments against granting the owner a permit to run a fish farm here.   The aerial photograph below, supplied by an ACA member, provides a recent image of this potentially idyllic site alongside the river.  

Riverside Rainbows

The 'Riverside Rainbows' site. The Avon is just off the bottom of the photograph.


Compare and contrast this view with that of the Hazelwood House boathouse, taken not far upstream.

Balsam ‘bashing’ working party – Hazelwood House

Our leaflet about the local environmental problems posed by Himalayan Balsam (see ECOLOGY/INVASIVE WEEDS) has already generated a lot of interest and we are planning our first ‘balsam bashing’ working party .  From the wealth of sites on the Avon requiring attention, we have selected Hazelwood House which has a particularly severe problem and is attractive for other reasons.    

Hazelwood House is very unusual and the grounds (67 acres, much of it alongside the Avon) exceptionally peaceful.  It is situated in a relatively inaccessible but very beautiful part of the valley, on the opposite side of the river to where the old ‘Primrose’ railway line used to run, upstream of Loddiswell.

AA recent photograph of the old boathouse,  with the river beyond.   

Nowadays, the house is run as a commercial retreat and venue for artistic and cultural events but the prevailing philosophy for management of the grounds is not far removed from the ACA’s charitable objective of conserving, protecting and improving the river for the benefit of the public –  simply put, it is to ‘let Nature be’.

 Unfortunately, this philosophy has resulted in a huge influx of Himalayan Balsam over the past few years and in return for a simple lunch, we have agreed to organise a working party to start uprooting this annual alien invader before this year’s seed dispersal begins.  The working party will meet at Hazelwood House at 10.00am on Wednesday 23rd June for a 2-hour weed pulling session, followed by lunch.

 If you and your friends would like to join the working party, it is essential that you let me know by 16th June so that I can explain what is involved and know the number requiring food.   You can contact me at


To report any water quality-  or wildlife-related incident call FREEPHONE 0800807060 for THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY, open 24/7 – see our ECOLOGY page.    It is important that you act without delay to prevent possible damage to the river’s ecology.

You will be asked about the details, provided with an incident number and asked whether you would like a report after the EA has investigated the problem.  You can also choose to remain anonymous. 

It would be helpful if you could also provide  information about the incident for the ACA’s records via this website – see ABOUT ACA/CONTACT US.


Next Sunday, 23rd May, we hope to see as many of you as possible helping to clean up the beach at Cockleridge, weather permitting.  This is one of our regular, quarterly, ACA Cockleridge  efforts in association with the Marine Conservation Society and organised by Maya Plass. 

Our insurance requires that all participants read and abide by the safety guidelines which appear on this website ; we apologise if this seems a bit officious!

We plan to meet at 11.00am.

Portable BBQ’s or sandwiches might be a good idea if you fancy lunch on the beach.