Pic: Jonathan Wretham.
The Chess is a Twitchers’ paradise. Not only are bird watchers treated to occasional sightings of barn owls, ospreys and kingfishers but there has been much excitement about a Great White Egret that has taken up residence around the river. The area is a favourite destination for photographers, fishermen, walkers and families. The River can be accessed in many places as it winds its way from Chesham through to Chorleywood to the Colne but possibly the easiest is via Chorleywood House Estate. It is currently protected and enhanced by The River Chess Association but the conservation team desperately need to increase their number of volunteers.
“Conservation agencies are under constant financial pressure and our work is vital” says Paul Jennings, Chairman of The River Chess Association, “ We really need more volunteers for working parties to help enhance the river habitat. We have to monitor fly life at seven locations and take water samples for quality testing. But the cosiest and most popular task is monitoring the activity of water voles along the length of the river. We are just starting a project with the Zoological Society of London which keeps track of the number of young eels coming up the river. Young eels find it difficult to get over weirs and we are setting up an eel trap to monitor numbers.” ‘
The Association also operates a regular Watch where wardens walk the stretch of the river once a month to keep an eye on what’s going on. The water is a convenient dumping ground so constant clearing and litter picking is essential.
“We find all sorts of things lobbed into the water but the most random have been statues of the Hindu elephant God, Ganesha and an Anya Hindmarsh designer handbag – sadly too sodden to be of any use. “
www.riverchessassociation.co.uk Tel 07766 406718 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chess Valley Walk
The Chiltern Soicety have a produced a free downloadable leaftlet detailing a 10 mile linear walk through the Chilterns following the River Chess from Rickmansworth to Chesham.
You can reach the Chess Valley Walk from either Rickmansworth or Chesham stations, or for a shorter walk, you can access the walk from Chalfont & Latimer or Chorleywood.