Feed on

Christmas comes but once a year, apparently, but for the Wandle it almost always starts early…

… with a seasonal stocking (ho ho ho) of fish that still find breeding conditions difficult in this recovering urban river. 

net of silver fish

As a frosty dawn broke on Tuesday 1 December, the convoy of Environment Agency sleighs landrovers had already left the North Pole Calverton fish farm

… on-board tanks brimming with 200 chub and dace for the Hogsmill and Bonesgate streams, 800 chub and dace for the Beverley Brook, and a bumper 2500 baby chub, dace, roach and barbel for the Wandle.

Baby barbel

First stop for our suitably red-coated Fisheries Team Leader John Sutton and his helpful green-clad elves Fisheries Officer Tanya Houston and Enforcement Officer Carl Rasey was Morden Hall Park in Merton

Jed and Tanya

… where our friends from the National Trust and Morden Hall Park Angling Club were waiting patiently for their early Christmas presents:

Tanya and bridge watchers

Carl and Chris

Zigi with net

On Watermead Lane at the top of Poulter’s Park in Sutton, the Wandle Valley Safer Neighbourhood team’s PC Morris must have spent all year making sure the little local boys and girls had been good enough to deserve their nets full of silver fish:

Carl and PC Morris

Finally, as dusk was falling, the convoy touched down at Hackbridge

EA landrover at Hackbridge

… where Bella and I helped to form a chain to carry the last little fish down the steep chimney river bank to a clear, oxygenated riffle:

TP and Carl at truck

Santa takes a photo

TP with baby barbel 2

With his final delivery complete, the Wandle’s very own St Nicholas John cracked his whip one last time, to his team gave a whistle… and away they all flew like the down of a thistle back to Crossness.

See you next year!

2 baby barbel

 (Most photos: many thanks to John Sutton and the Environment Agency)

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