I’d been meaning to attend the Dorset Chalk Stream Club for years. John’s reports on Facebook had whet my appetite. This January everything fell into place, so Friday afternoon I jumped in the car and headed down to West Stafford. Mr Aplin very kindly offered me his sofa for the night so I could relax and have a beer or two.
Having helped John get everything set up I chatted with some of the other attendees as they started to arrive, food offerings in hand. Some of the other people I knew but lots were people I hadn’t met before and it was nice to put a few faces to names and make some new friends. 19.30 sharp John kicked off proceedings, welcoming the attendees and speakers and running through the agenda.
The first two presentations were from Dorset Wildlife Trust. Angus Menzies kicked things off with Rivers and the Riverfly, how invertebrate life is being used to assess river health and identify incidents affecting fish and anglers. Jacob Dew then introduced himself and the Dorset Wild Rivers Project, a major restoration project led by Dorset Wildlife Trust with funding from Wessex Water and Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Focussing on the Frome and Piddle Valleys and the chalk stream tributaries of the Stour, Allen, Tarrant and North Winterbournes. Jacob works with land owners, fishing groups and The Wild Trout Trust, restoring rivers for the benefit of fish and invertebrates, reducing agricultural run-off into the chalk streams and creating wetland habitats in the floodplains.
Terry Jane ended the presentations with The River Frome – From Source to Sea, a great little film tracing the course of the Frome from its source at Evershot to its terminus at Poole Harbour.
After the lights came back on we all tucked in to the fabulous selection of foods everyone had brought with them and enjoyed a pint or two brought over from The Wise Man. As I chatted with some of the regulars we admired the fly rods brought along by local fine rod builder Tom Regula.
As everyone drifted off around 22.30 all that was left to do was tidy up the village hall before heading back to Johns and a good nights sleep on his very comfortable sofa. A wonderful, entertaining evening, highly recommended.
Cheers, Kris Kent
Photo by David Burton