‘The demise of the upper River Ivel and the plight of all chalk streams’ was the subject of a presentation to the Letchworth Arts and Leisure Group at the Settlement in Letchworth. This was given on September 5th 2022 by the two ‘Catherines’, Kathryn Mackenzie and Catherine Wilmers to an audience of 67.
They talked about the the RevIvel Association being founded in 2019 to highlight the plight of the upper River Ivel. They then focussed on what a chalk stream is. Slides were shown of the present dry riverbed, and they mentioned the history of the upper Ivel including neolithic remains, and the Roman villa south of Radwell, the water mills, watercress beds, fisheries, and the biodiversity in chalk streams. These all show that there was water all year round in the upper Ivel. They also explained the solution to the present lack of water: which is to take water from further downstream, Grafham reservoir and stop abstracting from the head of the Ivel. This has the support of Anglia Water, the Environment Association and Water Resources East. The amazing canoe trip that adventurer Richard Meredith Hardy has undertaken along the dry riverbed at the start up to Offord near Grafham was also described and illustrated. The audience were shocked and also complimentary about the presentation. An invitation has been proffered to return with a showing of the film of the upper Ivel which is being prepared.