Feed-back to Halton-Lea-Gate folks on Tyne Rivers Trust
A bit of feed-back from us to those on the Coal List. Might stimulate a bit of working together around our shared experiences.
Halton-Lea-Gate has a population of circa 137. It is a small, tight-knit community with a story to tell not unlike our own here in the Pontburn Valley. They too sit on a 'national strategic reserve" of coal and, therefore, despite what 136 of the 137 residents might want, the decision will be made ultimately by central government, allbeit after a protracted, convoluted planning process culminating in a 'public' meeting and the appointment of a public inspector to preside over its good order. But that's all by-the-by, we know this.
Today's meeting, like many taking place around the country, was attended by an action group, mostly mobilised by the local communities under threat. They, like we, were seeking answers and support. Now we're all different and that's as it should be but some things we share and have in common.
Talking to a chap like me born in Washington, he tells me that the Tyne Rivers Trust don't seem to be taking a great deal of interest. And if that's true, which I doubt, why not do what we're trying to do on this webpage? Give them a reason for wanting to help by helping them.
Burn Watch on behalf of Tyne Rivers Trust - 26 August 2008
Where are we now? Unfortunately, not much further forward in the absence of willing volunteers. However, we have as promised identified four sampling points, the locations of which will be kept 'secret' for the time being. These are in addition to the sampling points which Derwent Fly Fishing Association manage above and below where the Pont Burn enters the Derwent.
As far as we are aware, there are no native brown trout even in the lower reaches of the burn, save perhaps where the burn enters the river near Lintzford. However, we have observed some fly hatches at many points on the burn from May to the present time. Moreover, a pair of Dippers have been seen below Sammy Mann's Bridge and there are parts where the water runs clear over natural sandstone bedrock, especially near to the numerous waterfalls which occur, both in Pont Wood and elsewhere. Some of these were quite spectacular after the recent heavy rain.
In common with the River Derwent, there is a distinct brown tinge to the water in such conditions though not, as in the case of the Derwent, on account of peat staining. There are one or two obvious examples of "iron-water", one of which is cordoned and elsewhere close to the burn where the ground is water-logged, there is tell-tale evidence of iron ochre associated with dis-used workings.
Once the natural exististing hydrology is disturbed by excavation associated with surface mining, this will impact on the burn. Therefore it is important that regular monitoring is initiated now so we may present recorded facts.
If no volunteers are forthcoming - and I find it hard to believe that there are no individuals or groups - especially those drawn from our youth organisations - that would not find a monitoring exercise worthwhile, whether they are in favour of surface mining or not.
As we said in earlier sections on this webpage, if any of these want to get involved they can do so they can contact us through their leaders. We can provide the same 'expert help, guidance and equipment providedd to us. This included some very simple informtation sheets and instructions which we can augment.
How about it? Next meeting 3 Sep 08.
1st Tyne Rivers Trust - River Watch Conference 19-20 Jul 08
In case Tyne Rivers Trust folks thought we'd forgot about our Burn-monitoring promise, we've been a bit stretched for a month or so. However, volunteers or no, we'll get this underway - soon. In the meantime, why not come out to play this Sunday on our "Three Burns Walk". This sets out from the Dipton Community Centre at 10.00 a.m sharp and ends with our usual hospitality. When we crack how to do it and get our calendar back on-line, we'll add your event there as well as here on your webpage.
This invitation is open to all, come out and have some fun and on the serious side, lend a hand where and when you can. You're the experts and if you need a password, let us know. Have a nice weekend and, if you're passing through Leadgate on Saturday crossing Watling Street on the C2C, ring your bell when you see the Hope 08 folks digging into the past to help shape our future.
Apologies if you have already received this message. Unfortunately some people did not receive the first attachment, please follow the link for the poster and how to register.
Tyne Rivers Trust is holding its first River Watch Conference on 19th and 20th July 2008.
Please see attachment for poster including how to register.
Hope you can make it and look forward to seeing you there.
Tyne Rivers Trust
tel: 01434 611817 mob: 07817 238455
The Tyne Rivers Trust folks have provided us with the basic skills, tools and knowledge to do some basic monitoring of the Pont Burn. Nothing ellaborate for now; just monthly, routine "kick" sampling at 3 pre-arranged spots on the burn between Bradley and the outfall of the Pont Burn at Lintzford.
What's it involve? Standing in the burn, holding a hand-net just downstream of where vigerous (or not so vigerous in my case) kicking of the stream bed is done for a fixed period of 3 minutes. Then empying the contents of the net into a tray, doing some simple identification of aquatic creepy-crawlies, counting and reporting back to the Tyne Rivers Trust, then the Tyne Rivers Trust reporting on to others, including the Envronment Agency. The really cool part is looking at what we find under a microscope
I guess that makes me a Tyne Rivers Trust "River" Warden and, I hope, the founder member of the Pont Valley Network's "Burn Watch". Way I see it, no skin of my nose and we'll see where it goes.
More as I get it. Feel free to add suggestions either to or beyond the first comment below which is the first forum message on the subject
We'll add links to Tyne Rivers Trust folks and other expert organisations in this section as well as images in one of the Pont Valley Network's Photo Albums
First Forum Message - What we have in mind....
From tomorrow and after attending the River Fly training workshop organised by the Tyne Rivers Trust we thought it might be worthwhile to put up a new page on the website as well as creating a new Pont Valley Photo Gallery and updating our links to the appropriate agencies and organisations involved in the “River Watch” programme. This will be explained more as an announcement on our Home Page tomorrow and on the new web pages but for those living near by that can’t wait, anyone that wants to get involved before our first sampling session can come along to our next Pont Valley working group meeting on the subject of “information Leaflets” tomorrow night at the Dipton Community Centre. This begins at 7.00 p.m.
To give a feel for how we see this working, there are two elements to what we propose. Both are important and we think both should be fun as well as informative. Firstly, now that we have an “accredited” River Watch Volunteer reporting to the Tyne Rivers Trust (and they in turn report to the Environment Agency and other interested parties), we will conduct regular monthly sampling of the Pont Burn’s fly life over the next 12 months between Bradley and the burn’s outfall at Lintzford. We will add chemical to biological monitoring just as soon as we can and begin to build a picture of what we have here in the burn as well as in the Great Crested Newt pond via the Dipton Partnership. But as the River Derwent itself is already monitored by the Derwent Angling Association, we will ask their secretary if we might share their monitoring results of the river below the outfall of the Pont Burn. Initially at least we will start by simply developing our own competencies and seeking to transfer what we know and can find out to one or two willing volunteers, reporting progress and results on our web pages and, we hope, by directing your attention to our partners’ own web pages where more can be found out.
To those that think that this might be a rather dry, uninteresting affair believe me what we did today on the Whittle Burn near its outfall into the Tyne was fun and might take one or two of us back to fond childhood memories, quite apart from the inescapable fact that those that do get involved might be doing their communities some service by making sure that instances of pollution of the Pont Burn do not go un-noticed. Perhaps not as much fun as getting out and about ourselves and experiencing what the Pontburn Valley has to offer but as least better than not knowing! Besides which you might share your recollections with a story or comment which might stimulate someone else to add more.
Secondly and as we embark tomorrow night on part of our spring programme to build-up our libraries with more information leaflets and other literature, we really don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Some things we can learn more easily from others and while we have a new partner in the form of Groundwork West Durham with whom we now also have an agreement and who will support us in our efforts at home-grown community self-help, everything that we produce has to be about things we see and do here in the Pont Burn Valley; while we accept that others might be more expert in their own specialist fields, this is about our communities and how they might work together learning while doing. Learning can be fun and needn’t be confined to a classroom or lecture hall, besides which no-one knows more about their communities than those that live in them! Therefore there will be as much effort going into flagging-up who’s saying what about where we live through links to their own information packs as well as building up our formal monitoring programme and keeping this information accurate and up-to-date on the new web-page, again one which we want you to help us shape. We believe that this second element of this River Watch programme promises to be more fun as we seek to extend what we know and can find out to all in our communities, both young and old irrespective of political persuasion, beliefs or anything else away from the confines of monthly committee meetings which some cannot attend. You can help us with the production of our information leaflets specific to the Pontburn Valley simply by logging onto our website occasionally and letting others know.
We want our communities to inter-act with us through our website as we develop our information leaflets and organise programmes and events around this subject as well as our heritage working group have done to date. For those that want to see just how well this particular work group has done, take a look at the Marr’s short local history papers under “People and Places” that are bringing our heritage back to life. Some of these will shortly be reproduced as Information Leaflets and illustrated walking guides, by their nature quite specific to the Pontburn Valley communities and we want to do the same for our flora and fauna in our environment and ecology pages which are now slowly also shaping up around what you are telling us while the work of the heritage work group continues and leads into our next heritage trail planned for early June.
As always and for those forum regulars that might not have not already noticed, the information contained in this and other forum messages is now also contained on the appropriate webpage under comments as well as in forum archives, where it can be added to (or challenged) by way of a further or new comment as well as forum response. This is our open filing system and our way of building up information progressively and over time, sharing what we know so that others can add easily with what they know. Our next Fortnightly Focus due out later this week will sign-post new and existing readers to new information and progress on our website.
Created on 29/04/2008 11:24 PM by dshields
Updated on 14/03/2009 06:24 PM by dshields