View from the Riverbank

The River Itchen rises in Tichbourne and flows westward before turning south to meet the sea at Southampton. I have been fortunate to live close to one stretch of the river running from Avington, via Martyr Worthy to Winchester, which is the current focus of this website.

The River Itchen is recognised world-wide as one of the few remaining truly native brown trout habitats. The whole of the river, from source to sea, is designated as a special area of conservation and as a site of special scientific interest. Many species of birds, animals, insects, fish and plant life can be seen here at different times of the year.

The river is man-made. It has been managed and controlled for centuries. Left alone the river would quickly be choked by underwater vegetation, silt up and be overshadowed by encroaching bankside willows. It would become a tangled marshland.

Life in the river depends upon the condition and flow of the water for its survival. Underwater vegetation is cut during the summer months to a chequer-board pattern (a) to maintain the speed and direction of the water. Reduction of material in the river also controls the water level. Cutting takes place over several days; scheduled during specified times in May, June, July and August.

The river is spring fed with water at the source emerging at a constant 10įC. The river flows between 4 to 7 m3/sec or 4000-7000 kg/sec. One cubic metre of water weighs 1000kg (1 tonne), so the volumes and pressures involved are great indeed.

Enjoy the sights, sounds and atmosphere of the river and its surroundings. Help to preserve the riverís special status; leave just footprints; take only photos and peaceful memories.

George Mann, January 2019