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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 October Newsletter Link HERE



Ver Valley AGM

At the AGM on 23rd October Jane Gardiner stood down as chairman after 5 years and John Pritchard was elected as our new chairman.

Jane was thanked for her contribution to the Society and she will continue as a committee member.

Over 60 people attended the AGM.


River Ver Restoration Project


The Ver Valley Society is delighted with the ambitious proposals announced in March to improve 2.8 km of the Ver – one of the globally rare chalk streams – from St Michaels to Sopwell Mill. We believe that these plans will help towards our society achieving its long term aims for the river. They are on the St Albans website here; Revitalising the River Ver

As far as Verulamium Park and the lakes are concerned, the plans are very similar to the Halcrow Option 7a solution of 2004, but involve less engineering to the lakes (costed at £2M at the time!). They represent a once in a generation chance to create a lake and river area the people of St Albans and our thousands of annual visitors can appreciate for years to come.

Reach 2 from the Causeway to Holywell Hill proposes two boardwalk sections for the Ver Valley Trail, one of which is almost identical to our proposal of 2014, plus a shorter section closer to Holywell Hill. We might well be able to support these financially with the remaining Friends of Ver Park funds.

Reach 3 from Holywell Hill to the Prospect Rd allotments proposes channel improvements but little real change. We think the narrow footbridge should be replaced with a ramped structure like the bridge at Hyde Lane in Frogmore but oddly this is not mentioned.

Reach 4 to Cottonmill Lane proposes moving the existing river alignment to the lowest point of the valley (necessitating relocation of some of the existing allotments). It makes eminent environmental sense to create a wetland here through which the Ver Valley Trail will wind, and avoid flooding of the remaining allotments as the water table rises following reduced abstraction at Mud Lane and Holywell Hill pumping stations from the 2020’s.

Reaches 5 and 6 have various small changes to narrow and improve the channel, and the Ver Valley trail, and they have taken on board VVS efforts to create a wildflower meadow south of the Alban Way bridge - by lowering the banks here this would become a water meadow.

Encouragingly, these proposals can be implemented independently as funding becomes available, providing opportunities for us to get involved both practically and financially as they come to fruition, along with our old friends at Countryside Management Service.

Martin Frearson

The River Ver, a Meander Through Time


A large colour, hardback book on our local chalk stream - The River Ver a Meander through Time by Jacqui Banfield-Taylor.

Dedicated to her late father, Ted Banfield, a founder member of the Ver Valley Society, this first major and comprehensive work on the River Ver reveals a fascinating story from source to confluence and prehistory to the twenty-first century of a chalk stream that has shaped not only the local landscape but the lives of people past and present.

This beautifully written and illustrated book hopes to encourage readers to take an interest in exploring and caring for this superlative resource and its surroundings and help to give the River Ver its rightful importance now and for future generations.


Signed copies are available from the author at a special price of £20 (RRP £24.99) and can be delivered free locally (within 10 miles of St Albans).

Please email or call 07792 588892.





Ver Valley Action Group Spring Programme 2018 


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

Tel : 01582 794332




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


Ver Valley Society Barn Owl Project - 2004-16

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







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:-


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.


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.



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