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Works on the Abbey River Chertsey Surrey

Article Date: 01/05/2015

There have recently been a number of changes to the Abbey River, which is a side stream of the River Thames, between Penton Hook and Chertsey. The river holds a widely-recognised public right of navigation and is regularly used by canoeists. 

The Environment Agency’s  Fisheries & Biodiversity function has recently undertaken a scheme to enhance wildlife, facilitate fish migration and bring about flood risk benefits.  These works have included the clearance of  weed (a good deal of it was Floating Pennywort, a Non-Native Invasive Species), and tree growth, the installing of two gravel spawning beds (riffles) and modifications to the sluices where the river rejoins the River Thames.    

Clearance of the river over the winter period has brought improvements and made navigation much easier along  the river.  However the riffles have raised the river bed and combined with variations in flows the reduced water level have proved to create an obstruction to navigation by causing canoes to ground.  The riffles are located in the vicinity of farm buildings, approximately 500 metres upstream of the Abbey Chase Sluice and rollers.  Please be aware swans are nesting nearby. 

In the past two weeks British Canoeing has contacted the Environment Agency for more information and twice paddled the river to monitor water levels. The agency  has confirmed that water levels are not finalised and given an  assurance to consult with British Canoeing to rectify and set an acceptable level to maintain navigation up and down the river at all times.

If you  paddle the river, British Canoeing would be grateful for your reports regarding water level conditions. Please let us know by emailing us at [email protected].

The present situation has also been reported to the Lower Thames Catchment Management Partnership, hosted by Thames 21, and River Users Group 8 where British Canoeing is a member.