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Riff Raff Diary for September 2013

Published on: 12 Oct, 2013
Updated on: 12 Oct, 2013

Riff Raff Cottage and Weir

Riverbank tales from our local St Catherine’s Lengthsman/Weirkeeper

by Robert Craig

With the daylight hours slowly getting shorter and the mists rising over the river and meadows at dusk, there is a definite autumnal feel in the air.

The house martins have been gathering in large numbers near St. Catherines lock. There they have been putting on a wonderful show of aerobatics as they swoop low over the water gathering as much food as they can in preparation for their long flight home to Africa.

House martins are now migrating south in large numbers.

House martins face a long migration south as autumn arrives.

This past month has been spent on cutting the towpath vegetation, in particular those narrower sections where the taller growth can flop down when damp.

Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum)

Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) can be seen by the river in the autumn.

There was the one alder tree to be cleared from the navigation by the roller just upstream of Ferry Lane. With the aid of two colleagues and a winch between us we managed to extract the tree plus the large root ball and cut it up. Luckily for me the bank is quite low at this point and made the job easier for us.

There are still some attractive flowers to look out for along the towpath such as the Meadowsweet, some of which is still in flower. Others like Hemp Agrimony are taking on an attractive colour as they begin to die back.

See you by the river,

Rob

Robert explains some of the workings of the weir by St Catherine's Lock

Robert explains some of the workings of the weir by St Catherine’s Lock

Rob recently guided a small group of St Catherine’s residents in a riverside walk from the bottom of Ferry Lane to Riff Raff cottage and back. The group then adjourned for a pub lunch at Ye Olde Ship Inn and were given a audio visual presentation of some of the birds that can be found on that stretch of river.

It is hoped that another walk will be organised late spring next year. This time the walk will go downstream to Millmead lock before returning and the theme will be riverside trees. The walk organised by the St Catherine’s Village Association will be primarily for St Catherine’s residents. There will be a maximum number of 15.

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