Author Topic: Restoration of Perennial Flow in the River Lathkill upstream of Bubble Springs  (Read 92871 times)

Offline Pete K

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Unclej, would you please tell us your involvement in this? Clearly you are well informed.

Offline graham

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I hope you are able to come along and find out for yourself.

I have already said that I am rather too far away for that to be feasible, hence my raising of queries on here. How caving interests fit into wider conservation interests and how non-specialists understand karst processes in these situations are what concern me in this case.
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Offline unclej

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When were otters and ospreys ever in the Lathkill?

Osprey come as far upstream as Alport, which is a little village on the edge of the SSSI. Otters have been tracked to Conksbury Bridge and use the Lathkill all the time. A couple of years ago they spent the summer evenings swiping fish from the Raper Lodge ponds and the days kipping under His Grace's fishing hut.  :bow:

Offline unclej

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I hope you are able to come along and find out for yourself.

I have already said that I am rather too far away for that to be feasible, hence my raising of queries on here. How caving interests fit into wider conservation interests and how non-specialists understand karst processes in these situations are what concern me in this case.

Understood Graham. Thanks.

Offline droid

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So, as has been said, you are well informed.

Having already been to 2 'Roadshows' would you care to inform us of YOUR interests in all this, as requested above?

Call me a cynic, but I find your reticense rather intriguing.... :coffee:
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Offline Bottlebank

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Droid, I'll call you a cynic if you ask nicely :-)

I'm intrigued why so many of you are so concerned what UncleJ's involvement is? He seems to know what he's talking about.

It's not as though you post using your real or full names?


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Offline droid

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It's the refusal to answer pretty direct questions, BB.

It's almost that he doesn't want people checking what's going to be said, before it's said. If the idea is a free exchange of information, this isn't helpful.
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Offline Pete K

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Click my signature, it will tell you my full name and give you all my contact details, qualifications and even address.

I think it is simply common decency when arguing/debating a point to declare your involvement.

Offline Bottlebank

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Quote
I think it is simply common decency when arguing/debating a point to declare your involvement.

I'm inclined to agree with you, but don't think that's the way this thing works :-)
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Offline Tripod

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unclej, thank you for your assurance that my concerns will be alleviated by the presentations at the meeting. I would like to attend but meanwhile there are some more questions that need to be asked and points to raise.
There are some very high weirs between Bubble Springs and Conksbury bridge. Are you saying that opening the sluices in these allows Trout to migrate through this section? Is this done and has it been done every year, since the weirs were built? Are those deep pools drained completely to produce a natural river flow? Have any studies been carried out to assess how far Trout migrate along the Lathkill? Or even Derwent/Wye/Lathkill? My, educated, guess is that those weirs are a significant if not total barrier to fish migration. Could you state how dependent the Lathkill fishery has been, since the 1850s, on stocking and what proportion of  the fish stocks are produced by natural spawning? I am curious too about the "traditional spawning beds" above and below Bateman's House, where the river is entirely man-made. This is not a personal attack but a genuine interest in how high the Trout ascended the river and what conditions they found, bearing in mind that nothing below a point well above Carters Mill is natural.
If the river was to run on the surface from Lathkill Head Cave down to Bubble Springs - and I cannot believe that it ever did "perennially" in historical times, then significant cave systems would be permanently flooded. That 3D mapping would be very useful together with a review of known hydrology.
And back to basics:
To restore 1960s Magpie Sough water levels would mean that the sough would have to be blocked producing a 30'-40' head where it meets the Wye.
To restore 1880s levels the sough would have to be blocked completely at a point which would ensure that all water captured by it was trapped. The ideas of "control" and "access" do not fit in with these scenarios. All the consequences of blocking the sough can be estimated but some, I imagine, only guessed at.
As I have said and others above, the sough being open is one factor and obviously others play a part. In fact, the only consistent factor is the sough being open and the changes that are occurring must be due to other influences.

Offline bograt

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Hmm, anyone considered the may tons of silt re-located underground by "Ben" Bentham in the 1970's/80's?
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Offline Peter Burgess

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There is an Unclej listed on the North West Carp Forum

http://www.northwestcarp.co.uk/forums/members/unclej.html - and click the About Me tab.

There is also a gentleman called "Jan" mentioned here:

http://www.haddonestate.co.uk/rivers/warren.php

Without a heads-up from unclej himself, this might not be conclusive proof of identity, but it is fairly convincing!  :-\




Offline bograt

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How would cavers interests be compromised by a control to flow in Magpie Sough?

I refer the gentleman to my earlier post, a raising of the water table (or, if you prefer "The Zone of Permanent Saturation") could cause repercussions in the Lathkill Head System, Lower Calesdale, Chritchlow, Mandale, Ricklow, and Crimbo Section of Knotlow.
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Offline graham

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It is clear that a 3d model of the area would be extremely useful in allowing folks who might not be completely 'at home' with the nature of our underworld to visualise what is going on here.

Producing the surface layer and overlaying with an OS map is a relatively trivial matter. In the absence of an online Derbyshire cave registry, does anyone have a list of the relevant caves & their entrance locations &, having got that, does anyone have access to relevant raw survey data? That's what is needed to produce a model, the rest is straightforward grunt work & sorting.
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Offline bograt

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With you on that one Graham, Unfortunately outside my area of expertise. However, I do have an Ordinace Survey map with contour lines and a guide book with shaft depths, if I can find time over the festering season, I might have a play.
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Offline unclej

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unclej, thank you for your assurance that my concerns will be alleviated by the presentations at the meeting. I would like to attend but meanwhile there are some more questions that need to be asked and points to raise.
There are some very high weirs between Bubble Springs and Conksbury bridge. Are you saying that opening the sluices in these allows Trout to migrate through this section? Is this done and has it been done every year, since the weirs were built? Are those deep pools drained completely to produce a natural river flow? Have any studies been carried out to assess how far Trout migrate along the Lathkill? Or even Derwent/Wye/Lathkill? My, educated, guess is that those weirs are a significant if not total barrier to fish migration. Could you state how dependent the Lathkill fishery has been, since the 1850s, on stocking and what proportion of  the fish stocks are produced by natural spawning? I am curious too about the "traditional spawning beds" above and below Bateman's House, where the river is entirely man-made. This is not a personal attack but a genuine interest in how high the Trout ascended the river and what conditions they found, bearing in mind that nothing below a point well above Carters Mill is natural.
If the river was to run on the surface from Lathkill Head Cave down to Bubble Springs - and I cannot believe that it ever did "perennially" in historical times, then significant cave systems would be permanently flooded. That 3D mapping would be very useful together with a review of known hydrology.
And back to basics:
To restore 1960s Magpie Sough water levels would mean that the sough would have to be blocked producing a 30'-40' head where it meets the Wye.
To restore 1880s levels the sough would have to be blocked completely at a point which would ensure that all water captured by it was trapped. The ideas of "control" and "access" do not fit in with these scenarios. All the consequences of blocking the sough can be estimated but some, I imagine, only guessed at.
As I have said and others above, the sough being open is one factor and obviously others play a part. In fact, the only consistent factor is the sough being open and the changes that are occurring must be due to other influences.

Back from shopping.
There are some very high weirs between Bubble Springs and Conksbury bridge. Are you saying that opening the sluices in these allows Trout to migrate through this section?
Yes. Some of the pools may be passable without the hatches open but only just and only by the very fittest fish.  
Is this done and has it been done every year, since the weirs were built?
Yes. There was a time when a couple of the hatches were seized but they all run fairly well now.
Are those deep pools drained completely to produce a natural river flow?
Yes. They are let completely down. Psalm Pool was down for about six weeks and has only just been closed.  
Have any studies been carried out to assess how far Trout migrate along the Lathkill?
I don’t know I am afraid.
Or even Derwent/Wye/Lathkill?
Fish cannot pass the weir at Alport.
My, educated, guess is that those weirs are a significant if not total barrier to fish migration.
You would be right, apart from the fact that the sluices are opened and fish in the upper dam do not have to pass a weir of course.
Could you state how dependent the Lathkill fishery has been, since the 1850s, on stocking and what proportion of  the fish stocks are produced by natural spawning?
This is an easy one.
A newspaper report from 28th March 1894 states; ‘A large number of fish have made their way upstream again so the river is again fairly stocked’. The river has never been stocked in living memory according to Herbert Waldwin. I don’t think the Lathkill has ever been stocked and relies completely on its native trout.

I am curious too about the "traditional spawning beds" above and below Bateman's House, where the river is entirely man-made.
The ‘Spawning Beds’ are below Batemans. Cattle were driven through the river to break up the gravel here, which has a tendency to bind with tufa. All the Lathkill is man-made, until you get to Hawleys Bridge at Harthill. I'm not sure of the point you are making here.
This is not a personal attack but a genuine interest in how high the Trout ascended the river and what conditions they found, bearing in mind that nothing below a point well above Carters Mill is natural.
There are trout in Carter Mill Dam of course, which you must have seen.
If the river was to run on the surface from Lathkill Head Cave down to Bubble Springs - and I cannot believe that it ever did "perennially" in historical times, then significant cave systems would be permanently flooded. That 3D mapping would be very useful together with a review of known hydrology.
This will be caught in the EIA that is going to take place. The evidence presented by Professor Gunn suggests Lathkill Head Cave was the source of the river at all times before the 1880's
And back to basics:
To restore 1960s Magpie Sough water levels would mean that the sough would have to be blocked producing a 30'-40' head where it meets the Wye.
Please ask Professor Gunn about this.
To restore 1880s levels the sough would have to be blocked completely at a point which would ensure that all water captured by it was trapped.
Yes.
The ideas of "control" and "access" do not fit in with these scenarios.
The design has a provision for letting off the water and controlling the flow. It will be possible to let off the head and access the sough. I’m not sure why, but that was the specification.
All the consequences of blocking the sough can be estimated but some, I imagine, only guessed at.
That is one reason why it is reversible, but the plan is only to return water to the original catchments.
As I have said and others above, the sough being open is one factor and obviously others play a part. In fact, the only consistent factor is the sough being open and the changes that are occurring must be due to other influences
Beck cites conduits opening up over time and allowing more water through to the sough. Have you read Beck, Banks and Gunn on the subject?


Offline unclej

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How would cavers interests be compromised by a control to flow in Magpie Sough?

I refer the gentleman to my earlier post, a raising of the water table (or, if you prefer "The Zone of Permanent Saturation") could cause repercussions in the Lathkill Head System, Lower Calesdale, Chritchlow, Mandale, Ricklow, and Crimbo Section of Knotlow.

It sounds like the Magpie Sough drain down of the Lathkill catchment has provided some temporary access privilages but I'm not sure about your claim that Mandale might be affected... :confused:

Offline bograt

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I have seen Trout jump 6 feet to get to their spawning grounds, all it needs is a considerate design to allow them to build up momentum! (depth of pool below the dam).
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Offline unclej

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The UK has a legal obligation to restore its areas of reserve and the Lathkill Dale part of the NNR is failing. The Lathkill is failing other legal obligations too due to the disconnect with its aquifer. The agencies are extremely keen to restore flow to Lathkill Dale and the SSSI to Alport. The public are excited at the prospect of year round flow and native species returning to Lathkill Dale before it was destroyed by mining and are completely on board.  Fisheries interests in the area raise near to £1m/yr and have a significant say as major stakeholders. I'm not sure about the points being made about fish passage?

Offline bograt

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How would cavers interests be compromised by a control to flow in Magpie Sough?

I refer the gentleman to my earlier post, a raising of the water table (or, if you prefer "The Zone of Permanent Saturation") could cause repercussions in the Lathkill Head System, Lower Calesdale, Chritchlow, Mandale, Ricklow, and Crimbo Section of Knotlow.

It sounds like the Magpie Sough drain down of the Lathkill catchment has provided some temporary access privilages but I'm not sure about your claim that Mandale might be affected... :confused:

Hmm, around 40 years of access, Temporary??, I doubt you are a caver, a source to Lathkill head has been proven to Crimbo, has a link from Crimbo to Magpie been proven?

Re; Mandale, there are flooded shafts in there that depend upon the water level, any raising would have a detrimental effect, my earlier question about the amount of rise in the water table remains unanswered!!.
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Offline Pete K

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Fisheries interests in the area raise near to £1m/yr and have a significant say as major stakeholders.
For the public purse or to the landowners who charge for the fishing rights?

Offline droid

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There is an Unclej listed on the North West Carp Forum

http://www.northwestcarp.co.uk/forums/members/unclej.html - and click the About Me tab.

There is also a gentleman called "Jan" mentioned here:

http://www.haddonestate.co.uk/rivers/warren.php

Without a heads-up from unclej himself, this might not be conclusive proof of identity, but it is fairly convincing!  :-\

He is also on the Facebook page.

I think you may have identified the mystery man, Peter, and explained his 'interest' in spending a LOT of taxpayers money in order to enhance the Lathkill Fishery.

Pity the man himself didn't have the courage to do the same.
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Offline unclej

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He is wrong, and I stopped submitting to peer pressure when I was 12.

What a shame this has decended into childish taunts.


Offline bograt

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I wish somone would answer my questions :(
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Offline Mark

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What a shame this has decended into childish taunts.



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