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Explore the beautiful rolling countryside of the Ver Valley through a new series of eight circular walks and the linear trail.

   

 

VER VALLEY SOCIETY


Ver Valley Action Group

Removal of Himalayan Balsam

Frogmore Pits

Saturday 21st May

10:00-12:00

 

There will be two VVS groups running this Saturday and we may be joined by some volunteers from the Verulam Angling Club. Meet by the bridge next to the Hyde Lane car park at 10.00. (If the carpark is full, you could park at the Moor Mill carpark and walk over) For those of you who live locally, and are walking / cycling in, you could start pulling up Himalayan Balsam from the wooden bridge in Frogmore, or where this joins the main path towards Hyde Lane.

 

It will take a few years to totally eradicate the HB and we, and other volunteer groups will be returning throughout the summer to remove it.

 

Task 1 Removal of Himalayan Balsam 

Task 2 Removal of fallen trees and litter downstream from the Hyde Lane footbridge.

 

If you are able to join us please let Sue Frearson, VVS Action Group Coordinator, know.

01727761878, sue.frearson@which.net


 

 


 

April 2016 Newsletter now available to download - see "News" page.


Latest News - Bow Bridge Pumping Station was closed down on 31st March 2016 as part of Affinity Water's long term planning to alleviate low flows in the Ver.


 

17 volunteers from the VVS Action Group clearing the Ver at Verulam Golf Course in November 2015 for Sustainable St Albans Week. 

Volunteers clearing the River Ver for Sustainable St Albans   

 

 

 

 

         Clive Pickering carrying out a riverfly survey near   Redbournbury Mill and the river and meadows near Redbournbury Mill

 

 

 Ver Valley Society Volunteers clearing the River Ver at Sopwell Manor Meadows November 2014.

 

 

          

Volunteers clearing the River Red of Weed in October 2014.


 

VVS Action Group 2016

Saturday 16th April 10.00-12.00

 

Frogmore Pits (meet at Hyde Lane carpark) to survey the river for silt and build natural deflectors, using fallen trees. For those without waders, new bramble growth along the path and banks will need to be removed. I hope to borrow some waders and tools from the CMS

Saturday 21st May 10.00 -12.00 (Provisional activity: I will email you if this changes)

Frogmore Pits (meet at Hyde Lane car park) Removal of litter from the river and of early growth of Himalayan Balsam along the new permissive footpath by the river.

Saturday 16th June 10.00-12.00 (meet at Moor Mill car park)

Removal of early growth of Himalayan Balsam at Moor Mill and downstream to Riverside and the confluence.

 

This spring and summer, working with the advice of Sandy Belloni South Groundwork Trust, it is hoped that we can continue the fight against the invasive weeds along the Ver. Please report in to me sightings of Himalayan Balsam, Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed.

 

Please contact sue.frearson@which.net for the risk assessment and further details.

 

 


 

The opening of the Riverside Way Panel, September 2014.

Attended by members of the Ver Valley Society and Countryside Management Services, Herts.

 


River Ver Video - just click to hear the Ver!

The above video was taken one quiet Sunday morning south of Verlam End in the late spring of 2008. There is flow again here since 2013. Why not go out and hear it live!

 

 


 

Chalk Stream in The Ver Valley

The Ver Valley extends from Kensworth Lynch north of Markyate, south via Redbourn, St.Albans and Park Street to join the River Colne near Bricket Wood. The Valley is formed on chalk covered by a thin layer of clay and flint in the hills with gravel and silt in the valley bottom.

Chalk streams such as the Ver are globally very rare. They have porous beds and rely on a high water table for existence. The springs which feed the valleys flow with mineral-rich, pure water which has been filtered through the chalk. Such water is vital to the flora and fauna typifying a chalk stream. But now the very existence of such rivers, especially the Ver and its tributary the Red, are under threat.

The upper section of the River Ver has always been a winterbourne, flowing only at times of high rainfall usually in the winter but until recent years, from Flamstead south, it was a permanent chalk stream. In the 19th and early 20th century the healthy river supported a dozen water mills. The pure, fast flowing, mineral-rich water, of relatively constant temperature, allowed a flourishing watercress industry to develop. Now the spring fed wetlands of the valley are slow to freeze, providing a temporary refuge for over wintering birds and support a variety of plants, animals and invertebrates and birds in summer.

 

 


Ver River logo

The Discover the River Ver Project has created a series of 8 short walks following the River Ver and exploring the surrounding countryside. These were launched on the 16th May 2011 with the Deputy Mayor of St Albans joining partners and volunteers on a guided walk through St Albans, encountering actors telling tails of the River and re-enacting stories from history.

 


 

Join us Today

If you would like to join us, please download our VVS Membership Form

Or just click on the membership link at the top of this page.

It's only £7 per annum or £8 per annum if paying by standing order. Membership covers a household / family.

 


 

"Rivers Down the Drain" - a short film by Charlie Bell of HMWT - July 2013

Rivers are drying, and wildlife is dying. Dry winters and abstraction are causing our precious chalk streams to die of thirst. Find out about the threats facing our rivers, and what you can do to help.

Written and presented by the Hertfordshire Living Rivers Officer, Charlie Bell.
Here is the link:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i42JBqhULxA&feature=youtu.be

 

Once on this page just click on the link to the film - the popcorn is optional as it only lasts about 8 minutes but sums up the problems facing chalk streams brilliantly.


Facebook

We now have a Ver Valley Society Facebook page thanks to member Tom Savory.

Like us on Facebook to see our mid-newsletter postings and for you to post things of interest that are happening in the Ver Valley!

 


 

For those wishing to research in greater detail the past and present of the River Ver why not look at our extensive archive in St Albans Central Library (Local History Reference Section Ref Y234.303).


Two Books


"The River Ver, A Meander Through Time"

This book, published in late July, is a new colour hardback all about our river by Jacqui Banfield-Taylor priced at £24.99 and with a forward by Chris Packham, 350 illustrations and covering all aspects of the river from pre-history to present.
Originally her father, a founder member of VVS collected much material about the Ver intending to produce a book. Since his death Jacqui has gathered this and much more material, some provided by us, and worked for several years to produce this comprehensive work.
You can see more about it on the publishers website www.halsgrove.com , signed copies can be ordered from the author Jacqui Banfield-Taylor - e-mail riverver@btinternet.com or tel. 07792 588892.


 

"Sopwell: A History and Collection of Memories"

This book by Sandy Norman of Sopwell Residents Association is a fascinating collection of personal reminiscences interspersed with historical information about this less-well-known area of south St Albans. It is beautifully produced containing many illustrations and photographs.
Of course the River Ver runs right through the area and has had considerable influence on its history and development and the Ver Valley Society was pleased to be partly responsible for sponsoring its publication. Our Chairman, Andy Webb, provided material for it and I was pleased to meet other contributors at the successful launch at Sopwell House Hotel in May.
Copies at £15 can be obtained from the Sopwell Residents Association c/o 23 Tavistock Ave, St Albans AL1 2 NQ


 

The Web Site

The original web site was set up by Judy Green, a past committee member and former vice president of the Ver Valley Society. In 2009 with the help of Neville Benn and Stephen Wragg this new web site replaced the original. We are gradually updating and improving the information available on the site. The costs of this have been largely funded from a legacy from a past member of the society, Catherine Tomkinson, who was at the first meetings in 1976. We hope that this web site is a fitting tribute to this lady who was committed to preserving her local environment and in particular her local chalk stream.

 


The Ver and Its People

Man has always relied on clean, fresh water for himself and his animals, in the past taking it straight from the river. However steadily increasing demands on water resources over the second half of the last century meant that supplies had to be drawn from deep in the chalk aquifer by means of boreholes. This is ground water which would normally feed into the River.

Now at the start of the 21st century further large areas of the country have been designated for new house building. Statistics show continued increase in water consumption per head. However the Ver Valley Society is striving to increase awareness of the impending ecological problems that this demand for water will cause, especially at a time when global warming poses its own threat.

The Ver must not be allowed to dwindle away as it nearly did in the early 1990s.

 


 

About the Ver Valley Society

The Ver Valley Society exists to protect and promote all aspects of the River Ver and its valley. We have nearly 200 members and are always pleased to welcome new ones. The Society was originally founded in 1976 to promote the Ver/Colne Walk but shortly thereafter the river, and its valuable water meadows, began to decline due to over abstraction of ground water and climate change. In 1993 we were instrumental in having one of the many pumping stations put onto standby status but over 30 million litres of water per day for local consumption are still pumped out of deep boreholes in the chalk aquifer, so we have still have a long way to go to safeguard our river.

Chalk streams, or winterbournes, are globally rare habitats supporting a very special ecology. We have divided the 24km length of the river into 12 stretches, from its sometime source at Kensworth Lynch, north of Markyate, to the confluence with the Colne near Bricket Wood. These sections are regularly patrolled by our volunteer bailiffs. As well as measuring the flow, they send in reports on wildlife, plants, invasive species, pollution, blockages, the state of the paths etc, and relevant bodies are contacted when necessary.

 


Newsletter

We produce a quarterly newsletter and hold four Open Meetings a year at different venues up and down the valley, where as well as reporting on river matters, we have a speaker on a relevant topic.

 


Next Open Meeting

For all details of our next Open Meeting see the News and Notes page.

Non members are welcome to attend our meetings. There is no admission charge.


Join us Today

Just click on the membership link at the top of this page for details.

It's only £8 per annum or £7 per annum if paying by standing order. One membership covers a household / family.

 

 
.. © River Ver 2008