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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.

   

 

River Ver and Verulamium Park Lakes Improvement Project

 

Listen to John Pritchard of the Society talking to Amanda Yorwerth on Radio Verulam about the proposed changes to the Lake in Verulam Park, and the River Ver through St Albans.  http://www.radioverulam.com/podcast/river-revival-and-fly-tipping-fines/

 

Plans Announced!

The citizens of St Albans have long been complaining about the state of the Verulamium Lake, suffering as it does from poor water quality, deep silt, extensive leaf litter and low water levels. The Ver Valley Society has been campaigning for improvements since the 1980s!

 

Detailed plans to revitalise 2.5 kilometres of the River Ver from St Michael’s to Sopwell Mill Farm have now been published - thanks to the determined efforts of The Environment Agency, Affinity Water, St Albans City and District Council and Hertfordshire County Council’s Countryside Management Service and developed by AECOM.

 

See the latest Proposals here!

You can see the plans for the lake and River Ver now online at www.revitalisingtheriver.co.uk

Please take a look and contribute comments about this exciting new scheme.

 

There is reshaping of the lake, extensive marginal planting, river course restoration, a better connection with groundwater, wildlife zones, new wetland areas, boardwalks, and many more intriguing features. These improvements should champion our precious chalk stream and provide a healthier, more attractive lake for people and wildlife to enjoy.

 

The Society is delighted

The VVS Committee, following an initial preview last week, will be looking at the plans in detail and feeding back observations and recommendations in due course. In the meantime Jane Gardiner, VVS Chairman, has commented

 

“The Ver Valley Society is delighted with the ambitious proposals to improve 2.5 kilometres of the River Ver…they will allow St Albans residents and visitors to experience and appreciate nature right in the middle of the city. We are looking forward to helping shape and develop the plans.”

 



 

Ver Valley Society February Newsletter Link HERE

 

Ver Valley Action Group Winter / Spring Programme 2018 

 

Saturday 21st April 2018:

10.00 – 12.00 New Barnes Mill Leat.  As part of Sustainable St Albans we will be clearing the Mill Leat adjacent to the road bridge through to the meadow. 

For further information contact the VAG Co-ordinator, Richard Wallis.

Tel : 01582 794332

Email   richard_wallis@btconnect.com

 

 

The Ver Action Group First X1 prepare for action on the Ver near the Chequers Pub in Redbourn . The December snow did not deter these hardy souls. Our new Ver Action Group Co-ordinator, Richard Wallis is fourth from trhe right.

 


Click and 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! No hope until will get flow in the Upper Ver again


 

Spring Walk

Saturday April 14th 2018 -10.00 am

Beningfield’s Birds - A bird walk led by John Fisher

 

Redbourn Museum has organised a morning walk in spring to discover the birds of the countryside around our village.  Just before his death 20 years ago in 1998, wildlife artist Gordon Beningfield was working on illustrations for a book entitled Vanishing Songbirds.  The book was later published with text completed by Betty Beningfield and Robin Page.

From Redbourn Common we will walk past Do-Little Mill, crossing the main road to arrive at Redbournbury Mill by the River Ver and on to Hammonds End Farm, returning to the start point. 

We hope to see some of the birds that were so loved by Gordon in the area close to his former home in Redbourn and we will be collecting donations for the RSPB after the walk.

Booking essential by contacting:

Pauline Ridgwell Tel: 01582 626055      Email: Pauline-r@ntlworld.com

 

 

Ver Valley Society Barn Owl Project - 2004-16

We have a new information page, detailing our Barn Owl Project, which can be found

HERE

 

 


 

  

 

Sustainability St Albans volunteers at the installation of the VVS 40th Anniversary Bench at Sopwell Nunnery Green NR

John pouring in the postcrete to fix the VVS 40th Anniversary bench

 

 

Dick Downs and Martin clearing the footpath at Frogmore

 

 


 

Pumping station switch off expected to provide valuable boost to River Ver

 

Environment Agency Acting Chair Emma Howard-Boyd and Simon Cocks, Chief Executive, Affinity Water, with VVS Members inspecting invertebrates found in the Ver, a useful way of monitoring the health of the river..

 

Affinity Water has agreed that it will reduce abstractions from its catchment area by 42 million litres per day by 2020 and by 70 million litres per day by 2025.  As part of this commitment to reduce the amount of water it abstracts it has turned off its Bow Bridge pumping station near St Albans, which will result in a saving of 6 million litres per day.

  

Affinity Water has been working closely with the Environment Agency (EA) and The Ver Valley Society, for over 20 years to assess the impact of abstractions on the environment. The reductions were agreed as a result of extensive consultation with customers and local groups in 2013. The pumping station has been used since the 1960s and it is expected that halting these abstractions will benefit flows in the Ver chalk stream and surrounding environment.

 

It has also committed to deliver river restoration and habitat enhancement projects on The Ver and six other chalk streams, in partnership with the EA, to restore them to a more natural state to encourage more wildlife.

 

Jane Gardiner, Chairman of The Ver Valley Society said: "We are very pleased that the first of several abstraction reductions in the Ver Valley, planned by Affinity Water, has now taken place. We have been campaigning over many years for such reductions to ensure that the River Ver continues to flow and its very special ecology and wildlife are protected."

 

Simon Cocks, Chief Executive, Affinity Water said: “We believe that leaving more water in the environment and working in partnership with the EA, to deliver improvements to local habitats, will benefit communities by restoring our precious chalk stream habitats and we will be monitoring water flows and the ecology to assess the effectiveness of these changes.”

 

Environment Agency Acting Chair Emma Howard-Boyd commented: “This is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when we work together with companies like Affinity Water. I look forward to seeing the environment around the Ver chalk stream improve as a result of this project.”

 

 


 

 


Click and 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! No hope until will get flow in the Upper Ver again

 

 


 

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 £8 per annum or £7 per annum if paying by standing order, or you can pay £36 for five years of membership.

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).


 

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